The Certification Program offers assurance that NFC Forum-certified products are interoperable with other NFC Forum-certified products. It also supports consistency in the behavior of NFC devices by confirming that products conform to NFC Forum specifications. Under the program, companies submit their devices to an authorized NFC Forum test laboratory for conformance testing using NFC Forum-validated test tools. The results are submitted to the independent third-party certification administrator for validation and approval. The program includes a problem and issue resolution process, and the anonymity of all submissions is assured.
In addition to the Certification Program, the NFC Forum supports "PlugFest" events held throughout the year, at which NFC solutions providers can test the interoperability of their products with other NFC products.
Certification is open only to NFC Forum members. The NFC Forum offers a lower-cost Implementer membership level for companies that plan to implement the standards and certify products. For information on how to join the NFC Forum, and participate in the Certification Program, visit www.nfc-forum.org/certification.
The Certification Program is being launched in waves, as NFC Forum specifications evolve. The first Certification Wave includes testing for the lower-level digital protocols, specifically the Tag Operation specifications for the different tag types, the NFC Digital Protocol Specification, and the NFC Activity Specification. The second Certification Wave, scheduled to launch in 2012, adds testing for the physical layer and selected upper-level digital protocols, including RF analog and peer-to-peer.
"With the announcement of the NFC Forum Certification Program, developers have the essential resources they need to build and deploy globally interoperable NFC Forum-compliant solutions," said Koichi Tagawa, chairman of the NFC Forum. "The Certification Program represents the culmination of a great deal of diligence and hard work by representatives of many NFC Forum member companies from a wide variety of industries and locations worldwide."
Only companies whose products pass certification testing will be able to display the N-Mark, the universal symbol for NFC, on their devices. The N-Mark tells consumers where to touch to initiate NFC services on a device. The N-Mark also lets consumers know where to touch, for example, a poster, sign, badge, or label to trigger NFC services.
The Open Group, a vendor-neutral and technology-neutral consortium, will serve as the certification partner for the NFC Forum Certification Program. "The NFC Forums collaborative efforts in developing standards for short-range wireless communications are at the forefront of securing information flow to enable new business applications in the expanding mobile market. By choosing to create a Certification Program, the NFC Forum can now confirm that certified products conform to a set of universally accepted specifications that are geared toward creating mobile systems that work together and exchange information for easier use," noted Allen Brown, president and CEO, the Open Group.
Additional NFC Forum Certification Program partners include test tool providers AT4 wireless and Clear2Pay, as well as test tool validation house Applus±. Each of these vendors has a contract with the NFC Forum and is responsible for delivering critical components of the Certification Program infrastructure.