NFC Forum Incorporates Tags into Its Certification Program

The release of Apple's NFC-enabled iOS 11 platform is helping to drive the growth of NFC deployments that are making an NFC tag certification program important, the association says.
By Claire Swedberg

Hunter says tag testing began immediately, with the addition of the tag certification program this week. Announcements will be made by the NFC Forum within days of the tests, she adds, and by manufacturers as they complete those tests and gain certification.

Testing is available to any manufacturers or suppliers of NFC tags, readers, handsets or other NFC-enabled devices. Certification is not an industry requirement, the NFC Forum maintains, but provides companies with additional credibility with their customers. It also helps to ensure that tags are interoperable with a variety of readers or handsets. Companies can request that their tags be tested with specific reader or handset products.

The NFC Forum has experienced an up-swell in inquiries from NFC developers and solutions providers since Apple announced it was opening its NFC functionality to developers, Hunter reports. Beta versions of the iOS devices have been in the hands of some developers for the past several months, she says, and solutions are being built that are intended to benefit consumers and businesses in a variety of industries.

One area in which Hunter expects considerable growth is in non-electronic consumer products. She cites the announcement from Nike that it plans to incorporate NFC technology into its National Basketball Association (NBA) jerseys as of Sept. 29. Any fan who purchased a jersey could tap his or her NFC-enabled smartphone against a chip behind a visible tag at the bottom of the shirt, which would take that person to the NikeConnect app.

The chip's unique ID number—as well as, in some cases, data stored on the chip—would then be linked to specific content for the player whose jersey that fan had bought. The content includes player statistics, along with scores during and after a game, and provides highlight reels of the team and any interviews held after each game. (Nike has not responded to requests for comment regarding the technology.)

Smart-home deployments are expected to emerge as well, Hunter says. This would provide solutions that might enable individuals to view content or prompt automatic responses in their homes based on the tap of a phone against a tag.

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