NXP Semiconductors N.V. this week announced that its contactless microcontroller, MIFARE Plus™, has been chosen by the Russian city of Sochi – host of the 2014 Winter Olympics – to power the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system of its ground transportation network.
This will be the first rollout of MIFARE Plus in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Working with partners including the solution provider and equipment manufacturer Strikh-M, inlay manufacturer SMARTRAC and card manufacturer Novacard, the project, which is currently in the pilot phase, will offer all the benefits associated with a contactless AFC to both passenger and transport operator alike.
Serving Sochi’s population of 500,000 residents and one million tourists annually, the MIFARE Plus-based systems will help improve the overall passenger experience and drive operational efficiencies. Eliminating the need for cash, passengers will be able to purchase and fill up contactless travel cards and season tickets at the automatic smart-card payment terminals, speeding up passenger embarkation.
“This is a significant project for NXP, Strikh-M and the other partners involved in this project and serves as a role model for other similar projects in the region. We are confident that all residents of Sochi will benefit from this contactless solution and that it will enable the city to prepare for the upcoming Olympics,” said Henri Ardevol, general manager of secure transactions, NXP Semiconductors. “At NXP we are seeing increasing demand for contactless technology in Russia and the other CIS states. Major operators such as the Moscow Metro already use our technology, and the MIFARE portfolio of products provides system integrators with the flexibility to create an AFC system based on the individual needs of the customer, while offering a clear upgrade path to help increase levels of security when required.”
The project is an essential part of Sochi’s preparation for building a highly secure AFC system for the Olympic Games. At present, the city expects to receive about 400,000 additional visitors to the city during February 2014, and the MIFARE Plus-based AFC system will enable the local transport operator to scale up for the larger number of passengers it will be required to carry.
“Moving to a contactless based AFC system offers a huge number of benefits. Offering a 100 percent contactless system eliminates the need for our passengers to search through pockets for change, as the fare will be automatically deducted from their smartcard. In addition, the contactless AFC will allow the city government to better manage regular and discounted fares, while also eliminating potential misuse and unapproved tariff changes. As a result, the quality of transportation service will increase, the time spent queuing to board the bus is reduced and the overall passenger experience is improved,” said Alexey Smaglyuk, director of the transport and communication department, Sochi City Administration. “We’re incredibly proud to be hosting the Olympic Games in 2014, and this project will be vital to the success of the games and provide an efficient transportation service for all visitors to the city.”
MIFARE Plus, designed specifically for contactless applications which require additional layers of security such as public transport tickets schemes, road tolling, loyalty cards, closed loop micro payments and in access management in both the public and private sectors, features 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and supports migration from existing MIFARE Classic implementations. The contactless microcontroller IC offers an upgrade path for system integrators and operators wishing to implement additional layers of security to their automatic fare collection, access management and micro-payment installations. In addition, the product has received Common Criteria EAL 4+ certification by the German Federal Office for Information Security, and has undergone thorough security and privacy assessment by the Universities of Bochum and Leuven.