The NFC Forum announced Monday availability of three adopted and one candidate technical specifications, following approval by the board of directors. The specifications are available on the NFC Forum website.
Improvements to these specifications include the addition of Active Communication Mode (ACM) for Peer-to-Peer Mode (P2P) communication, support of NFC-V Technology compatible to ISO/IEC 15693 and the introduction of the NFC-V based Type 5 Tag allowing NFC devices to communicate with a range of devices and tags.
The NFC Forum has mandated four tag types to be operable with NFC devices. This is the backbone of interoperability between different NFC tag providers and NFC device manufacturers to ensure a consistent user experience.
The operation specifications for the NFC Forum Type 1/2/3/4 Tags provide the technical information needed to implement the reader/writer and associated control functionality of the NFC device to interact with the tags. Type 1/2/3/4 Tags are all based on existing contactless products and are commercially available.
NFC Controller Interface (NCI) Technical Specification Version 2.0 defines a standard interface within an NFC device between an NFC Controller and the device’s main application processor. The NCI 2.0 was published as a Candidate Specification in June 2015 and, after comments were collected from stakeholders, the adopted version of the specification is now published.
The NCI 2.0 adds support of ACM for P2P communication and NFC-V Technology, allowing NFC devices to communicate with an increased number of devices and tags; concept of RF Interface Extensions to optimize the data exchange for P2P and memory tag communications; with an extended Listen Mode Routing mechanism that provides enhanced flexibility for NFC devices with multiple secure elements.
For example, one secure payment application from a bank may be installed on an embedded secure element of an NFC-enabled smartphone and another secure payment application from another bank can be installed on the (U)SIM card inserted into the same NFC-enabled smartphone. The user of this NFC-enabled smartphone is then able to select which of the two payment applications to use for the next payment transaction.
The new specification also gives users the option for NFC controllers to emulate NFC Forum tags autonomously (for example, to allow an NFC smartphone user at an entrance gate to show an NFC ticket stored on his phone even if the phone is switched off); and a high-level RF interface intended for Internet of Things devices to support communication with NFC Forum tags.
NFC Activity Technical Specification Version 2.0 defines the building blocks (Activities) to set up the RF protocol for different roles inside an NFC device. The candidate version of Activity 2.0 was published in October 2015 and the NFC Forum is now publishing the adopted version following the public review.
This technical specification has been extended to support ACM for P2P communication and NFC-V technology. Additionally, updates have been included based on ongoing alignment efforts with other organizations and standards, such as EMVCo, ISO/IEC 14443 and ISO/IEC 18092.
NFC Digital Protocol Technical Specification Version 2.0 defines the digital part of the RF protocol used by NFC devices. It is a half-duplex protocol allowing an NFC device to act as a reader/writer, an emulated card or a P2P device. The specification supports different RF technologies and protocols for compatibility with existing RF infrastructures.
The candidate version of Digital 2.0 was published last October and the NFC Forum is now able to publish the adopted version following the public review. Version 2.0 of the Digital Protocol Technical Specification also adds ACM for P2P communication and NFC-V technology. Additionally, updates have been included based on ongoing alignment efforts with other organizations and standards, such as EMVCo, ISO/IEC 14443 and ISO/IEC 18092.
The NFC Forum Type 5 Tag Candidate Specification defines the NFC Forum Type 5 Tag and how an NFC-enabled device in reader/writer mode detects, reads and writes an NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) message on an NFC Forum Type 5 Tag.
In addition to the reader/writer requirements, this specification adds NFC Forum Type 5 Tag requirements to increase interoperability. It enables providers of NFC Forum tags to verify that their tags are compatible with NFC Forum specifications. The communication with this NFC Forum tag type is based on NFC-V Technology, which is compatible with the ISO/IEC 15693 standard series.
The NFC Forum Type 5 Tag Candidate Specification allows for the storing and reading of an NDEF message on the NFC Forum tag. The NDEF message can contain a variety of information, resulting in different actions on the NFC Forum device reading an NFC Forum tag. NFC Forum Type 5 Tags are based on existing contactless products and are commercially available.
Type 5 Tag defines how an NFC device can interact with an NFC Forum Type 5 Tag, that is, an ISO/IEC 15693 tag that is configured to be able to store an NDEF message. As with other NFC Forum Tag operation specifications, the specification defines how to interact with, not build, a tag. The Type 5 Tag operation specification is focused on supporting poll-side, short-range communication with ISO/IEC 15693 tags containing an NDEF message.
By defining the NFC Forum Type 5 Tag, this candidate specification builds on the NFC Forum Type 5 Tag Operation Technical Specification published last October, which defined NFC device behavior with NFC Forum Type 5 Tags but did not address how to build NFC Forum Type 5 Tags.