Smart wearables and IoT devices are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of applications as they offer more functionality despite severe space and power constraints. By adding NFC capabilities to wearables, they can be used to pay in stores or gain access to public transportation and office buildings. SECORA Connect X, an all-in-one turnkey NFC solution from Infineon Technologies, supports this trend. The ultra-low-power, boosted NFC solution provides an easy path to EMVCo-based payments. In addition, the solution now also enables NFC wireless charging for smart wearables such as smart rings, wristbands, smartwatches and more making them more user-friendly and convenient.
“The next few years will be exciting for the wearables industry as the use of sensors and digitally-enabled devices increases and healthcare becomes a major driver of innovation for wearables,” said Tolgahan Yildiz, Head of Payment Solutions at Infineon’s Connected Secure Systems Division. “NFC wireless charging will become increasingly important to power ever smaller devices, both for increased user convenience and to enable slim designs. Our SECORA Connect X solution supports this trend by turning ultra-small passive wearables – which can be everyday objects such as rings or wristbands – into smart connected devices that enable digital payment transactions.”
According to ABI research, smart wearables will reach approximately 700 million units by 2027, growing strongly at a CAGR of 12.8 percent. Wearables such as Oura Ring and Whoop Band fitness trackers for monitoring the fitness routines of athletes are now widely used. The rise in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and obesity is also driving the demand for wearables. At the same time, the trend toward easy, fast and convenient digital payment options has been accelerated by the pandemic, prompting service providers to develop more IoT-enabled devices for a contact-free seamless payment experience. These devices require a new small form factor, high security, and, of course, trusted consumer and payment data protection.
Payment and NFC wireless charging for ultra-small devices
The SECORA Connect X boosted NFC solution offers advanced secured remote management capabilities and enables consumer authentication on the corresponding smart device. Designed primarily for payment, transit and access applications, SECORA Connect X is a fast solution to enable secured NFC use cases. Infineon is supporting several smart ring manufacturers with this special design to integrate payment and NFC wireless charging into ultra-small devices using only one single NFC antenna for both functions.
With pre-certified payment applications, a simple user interface and easy host integration via the PSoC-based evaluation kit, developers and OEMs benefit from a seamless migration path and overall faster time-to-market. CDCVM (Consumer Device Cardholder Verification Method) capabilities are also supported to reduce transaction times, increase security and facilitate seamless customer authentication without requiring additional PIN entry at the terminal. Payment data is stored on Infineon’s Secure Element for best-in-class security.
Ultra-low power consumption for longer battery life
The SECORA Connect X multi chip package is connected to a single tiny antenna that has a small footprint, increasing design flexibility while reducing the dimension of the device. This leaves more space for other components. SECORA Connect X also features a simple layout of external circuitry with chip size reduction, no more than 7 capacitors, and a highly optimized, compact form. The ultra-small antenna also reduces the battery charging time – e.g. from 20 to 80 percent charging level in less than 45 minutes.
Thanks to the solution’s ultra-low power consumption, the total battery life can be as long as three to four days. Moreover, the standby mode of the payment solution has little impact on battery life as it requires only between 4 to 6 µA with Infineon’s boosted NFC design – significantly less than other products on the market. As a result, SECORA Connect X enables optimal transaction performance for increased customer convenience.