CEA Leti, Gemalto and Raisonance Win Sesame Smart Card Industry Award

Raisonance test tool technology supports high data rate card technology from collaborative project with CEA Leti and Gemalto. 10 Mbps RF technology revolutionizes smart card applications and wins Sesame smart card industry award.

Montbonnot, France, December 11, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Very High Data Rate (VHDR) technology and protocol for contactless smart cards won the 2009 Sesame award for Hardware innovation. The VHDR technology being developed in a joint project by the CEA Leti, Gemalto and Raisonance, allows the exchange of large amounts of data stored on contactless smart cards with a simple swipe of a card against a reader. Attaining data rates more than 10 times faster than current technology makes a wide range of new smart card applications possible. In the near future, VHDR-will enable applications such as data-rich identity information on e-passports or diagnostic medical images for health care cards.

VHDR is the result of fundamental research conducted by the CEA Leti and implemented by Gemalto and Raisonance. The project includes partners with the know-how to address all facets of the fielding of this new technology – from physical signalling and communication protocol to tools for verifying implementation. The resulting VHDR standard demonstrated at the Cartes exhibition in Paris, already attains data rates of 6.7 Million bits per second (Mbps), with rates of 10 Mbps to follow soon. This high data rate is combined with simultaneous power transfer and low technology cost so that VHDR is equally adapted to use in high-volume, contactless smart cards and more complex systems (mobile phones, card readers, etc.).

Working in collaboration with CEA Leti and Gemalto, Raisonance is implementing VHDR in a range of testing tools to ensure the integrity, interoperability and security of VHDR components and systems. Tools include signal emulators required for certification of VHDR implementation in electronic components and protocol analyzers that allow implementers of this technology to verify interoperability of smart cards and card readers prior to deployment. These tools are crucial to the deployment and economic success of VHDR because they allow implementers to benefit from multiple suppliers while ensuring the quality and security of the infrastructure. In this manner tools benefit both the cost and the quality of the technology.

In addition to attaining very high data transfer rates, VHDR also meets requirements for rapid deployment and confidentiality. For implementers, the ease of deploying VHDR is enhanced by its compatibility with the existing ISO 14443 communication protocol that is already used in proximity contactless smart cards. This allows backward compatibility with existing infrastructures for contactless cards. The choice of a proximity signalling technology also offers a security advantage. The signal’s range is limited to three to five centimetres making it more difficult to intercept or spy transactions, while still providing users with the tap-and-go convenience of wireless smart card technology.

According to Francis Lamotte, founder and director of Raisonance, VHDR is a good example of a "wise" evolution in contactless smart cards. "VHDR presents us with an interesting opportunity by combining new modulation techniques that enable the increased data rate with an established communication protocol. These advances enable a range of data-rich applications that were impractical or impossible with today’s slower data rates. And thanks to backwards compatibility, we still maintain foundations in today’s technology which represent an immense investment by the industry and are still pertinent for a variety of applications such as payment and ticketing."

During the Cartes event, CEA Leti, Gemalto and Raisonance conducted demonstrations of VHDR implementations that included prototype contactless smart cards and a portable hardware platform. With the prototype cards capable of 6.7 Mbps, it is already possible to transfer high resolution medical imagery (x-rays, MRI scans, .etc.) in speeds ranging from a half second to 5 seconds, depending on the size of the image. Demonstrations also showed off the possibility to transfer other media, such as MP3 audio files, via a passive interface on handheld platforms such as PDAs and mobile phones.

The Sesames are awarded each year in conjunction with the Cartes & IDentification exposition – the world’s premiere event for the smart card industry. Awards are discerned by an independent panel of industry and technology experts. A complete list of award winners can be found at www.cartes.com.

Steve Gussenhoven
+33 4 76 61 02 35