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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Peter Silva, Glenn Rossman, Kevin Jackson, Michael Jannery

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NFC Forum Launches Special Interest Groups to Support NFC Market Implementations

The NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association that advances the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, has announced the creation of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that will bring together leaders from the areas of Consumer Electronics, Health Care, Payment, Retail, and Transport to collaborate on NFC solution implementation, interoperability, best practices, and future requirements. By fostering the direct, concerted interaction of NFC stakeholders in key vertical markets, use cases, and technology segments, the SIGs will enable the NFC Forum to take a more active role in driving NFC solutions development, deployment, and adoption.

The new SIGs build on the NFC Forum's progress to date and reflect the growing momentum behind NFC. Analysts estimate that more than 100 million NFC-enabled phones were sold in 2012 and close to 300 million will be shipped in 2013. NFC Forum membership is at an all-time high, and the organization has achieved major milestones in specification development and certification. The five SIGs introduced today in two special public webcasts, "NFC Goes Vertical," represent the top near-term growth opportunities for NFC technology. The NFC Forum will form additional SIGs as market needs develop.

Each SIG leverages the Forum's alliance partnerships in that area, bringing together top experts, member companies, and NFC solutions developers to share the business and technical needs of their industry and to develop programs to support them. SIG activities include:

  • Educating the market on use cases, implementation issues, and lessons learned
  • Gathering business requirements to drive new or modified technical work
  • Exploring ways to speed or smooth certification of NFC-enabled devices
  • Establishing and managing liaisons with other groups to further collaboration efforts
  • Creating regional programs as needed

"As the commercialization of NFC solutions grows, we see an increasing need in the marketplace for education, guidance, and support for market implementation," said Koichi Tagawa, chairman of the NFC Forum. "By helping us focus our efforts and expertise on the specific needs of key market sectors, the SIGs will enable the NFC Forum to facilitate and accelerate the delivery of exciting new NFC solutions to consumers."

The NFC Forum webcast launching the new SIGs was staged twice, to accommodate attendees in different regions of the globe. Speakers included Koichi Tagawa, NFC Forum Chairman, Sony; James Anderson, NFC Forum Vice Chairman, MasterCard; Debbie Arnold, NFC Forum Director; Chuck Parker, Continua Health Alliance; Cameron Green, GS1; and Stephan Copart, International Air Transport Association. Recordings of both webcasts are available from the NFC Forum website.

The five initial SIG Working Groups will report in to a new SIG Committee, which reports to the NFC Forum Board. Working through the SIG Committee, NFC Forum members will have the opportunity to recommend the formation of additional SIGs and to propose new work items.

With its more targeted focus, the SIG structure will also offer Forum members the opportunity for greater participation by providing a way to connect with others who share their interests, discovering and developing new business opportunities, and exploring new markets.

About the NFC Forum

The NFC Forum (http://www.nfc-forum.org) was launched as a non-profit industry association in 2004 by leading mobile communications, semiconductor, and consumer electronics companies. The Forum's mission is to advance the use of Near Field Communication technology by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability among devices and services, and educating the market about NFC technology. The Forum's 180 global member companies currently are developing specifications for a modular NFC device architecture, and protocols for interoperable data exchange and device-independent service delivery, device discovery, and device capability.

The NFC Forum's Sponsor members, which hold seats on the Board of Directors, include leading players in key industries around the world. The Sponsor members are: Broadcom Corporation, Intel, MasterCard Worldwide, NEC, Nokia, NXP Semiconductors, Qualcomm, Renesas Electronics Corporation, Samsung, Sony Corporation, STMicroelectronics, and Visa Inc.

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