Secure postpaid smart meter design demonstrated by Freescale and Inside


Amsterdam, Netherlands — (METERING.COM) — October 23, 2012 – A new secure postpaid electricity meter with near field communication (NFC) connectivity has been demonstrated by Freescale Semiconductor and INSIDE Secure.

The demonstrator shows how easily an electricity consumer can use an NFC-enabled smartphone or other NFC device to read the meter and securely transmit usage information to the utility company for payment.
“Our ongoing partnership with INSIDE Secure has resulted in our second smart meter design, demonstrating a cost effective solution for the postpaid market that lets consumers use NFC smartphones or other devices to securely read their own meters and transmit encrypted data to utility companies to pay their bills,” said Bruno Baylac, director and general manager of Freescale’s Metering, Medical & Connectivity business unit.
Co-developed by the two companies, the postpaid meter demonstrator helps prevent fraud by providing end”to”end security between the meter and the utility company or energy distributor while providing cost efficient remote reading capabilities.
The board of the demonstrator uses the VaultIC 460 security module and the MicroRead® 3.4 NFC controller and Open NFC protocol stack from INSIDE Secure to provide sophisticated smart card security mechanisms such as those proven in the banking industry. These include mutual authentication, certificate generation and verification, data encryption/decryption and management of secure cryptographic key storage. By using an NFC transceiver in the system, meter manufacturers can build an impregnable, hermetically sealed solution that is virtually unhackable.
The system is controlled by Freescale’s Kinetis MK30X256 32-bit MCU (built on an ARM® Cortex™-M4 core), which operates at up to 100 MHz with 1.25 DMIPS/MHz. The built-in LCD segment controller displays the standard metering values at the push of a button. The system’s firmware is based on the Freescale MQX™ real-time operating system.
The demonstrator supports post-pay and prepaid solutions utilizing the same bill of materials by simply changing the firmware and smartphone application, providing the flexibility to create products to address multiple markets quickly and efficiently.
“Providing adequate security in electricity meters to prevent fraud while enabling customers to read their own meters presents several challenges,” added Christian Fleutelot, general manager and executive vice president for digital security at INSIDE Secure. “Working with Freescale, we have been able to combine our leading security and connectivity solutions with their microcontroller to create a postpaid meter that helps prevent fraud while providing a cost efficient way for utilities to capture valuable usage information and receive payment.”