Industry bodies align to standardise on-device NFC


Collaboration ensures predictable behaviour of an NFC service regardless of where it is hosted and other services being delivered

ETSI, GlobalPlatform and the NFC Forum today outlined a standardised approach to implementing and managing near field communication (NFC) services across all technologies and platforms. The shared work initiative explains how to ensure that NFC services successfully coexist within a device and operate as intended.

The standardised approach clarifies how the ecosystem details the expected behaviour of multiple NFC services hosted in the same device and simplifies the end user experience. This benefits service providers offering NFC services in devices such as smartphones. This covers services such as payment, transport, loyalty or access control.

The approach will also be of interest to OEMs developing devices that support NFC services. For consumers, this clarity brings guarantees that services will work as advertised, regardless of the hosting contactless environment selected by the service provider.

The defined framework supports: multiple NFC service applications coexisting within a device, with the ability to detect any potential conflicts; the activation of multiple NFC services at the same time within a single device; a consistent approach to the lifecycle management of NFC services to ensure standardised behaviour; simplification of the end user experience when selecting NFC services for entities such as mobile wallets providers; and secure elements (SEs) already in the field, as all specifications are backward compatible.

Klaus Vedder, chairman of the ETSI Technical Committee Smart Card Platform, explained: “The range of SE technologies available, such as UICC, embedded SE, host card emulation and MicroSD as well as a number of solutions still based on proprietary technology creates an unnecessary fragmentation in the mobile contactless market, at the expense of end users, service providers and the ecosystem. This fragmentation can cause unpredictable behaviour of NFC services depending on the model and configuration of the device, implementation choices and presence of other NFC applications. The harmonisation of the behaviour of NFC services, regardless of the underlying technology, is thus of utmost importance for the success of the services in the market.”

Added Gil Bernabeu, technical director at GlobalPlatform: “ETSI, GlobalPlatform and the NFC Forum all share the same goal; we want to provide a standardised ecosystem that encourages the mass adoption of NFC services without compromising service integrity. The synchronisation across our three technical bodies is key in supporting service providers and ensuring that consumers can activate NFC services as and when they need to.”

Concluded Paula Hunter, executive director at the NFC Forum: “Significant progress has been made over the years to ensure service providers can accelerate the deployment of NFC services, regardless of how the service is hosted in the device. Legacy contactless systems were not always designed to work together, so the NFC service management framework now provides a way to integrate these different contactless applications into one NFC-enabled smartphone. This collaboration among three industry partners will have a positive impact on the market in the coming years.”


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