NFC Forum Releases Generic Control RTD, Connection Handover Specifications

The NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association that advances the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, announced the release of two specifications that stipulate the requesting of actions and the activation of alternative data transfers technologies between NFC enabled devices. The Generic Control Record Type Definition (RTD) specification and the Connection Handover candidate specification are available to the public for download at no charge at the NFC Forum Web site.

The Generic Control RTD specification provides a simple way to request a specific action, such as starting an application or setting a mode on an NFC enabled device (destination device) from another NFC device, tag or card (source device) through NFC communication.

The Connection Handover specification defines the structure and sequence of interactions that enable two NFC-enabled devices to establish a connection using other wireless communication technologies, such as WiFi or Bluetooth. Connection Handover thereby makes it possible to deploy applications that offer the best of both worlds by combining the simple, one-touch set-up of NFC with the high-speed communication of Bluetooth or WiFi. With this capability, for example, users of Bluetooth mobile phones can quickly transfer even large data files to one another simply by touching their phones together. The specification enables developers to choose the carrier for the information to be exchanged. If matching wireless capabilities are revealed during the negotiation process between two NFC-enabled devices, the connection can switch to the selected carrier.

With the Connection Handover specification, other communication standards bodies, such as the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) and WiFi Alliance, can define information required for the connection setup to be carried in NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) messages. In fact, the Bluetooth SIG has already incorporated NFC as part of its Bluetooth 2.1.specification for the simple pairing of two Bluetooth devices.

The Connection Handover specification also covers static handover, in which the connection handover information is stored on a simple NFC Forum Tag that can be read by NFC-enabled devices. Static mode is used in applications in which the negotiation mechanism or on-demand carrier activation is not required. In both negotiated and static handover, communication is established between the devices using the NFC touch paradigm.

“Connection Handover and Generic Control RTD provide essential specifications to any developer creating NFC applications,” said Christophe Duverne, chairman of the NFC Forum. “Because they enable NFC devices to perform high-speed data transfers and initiate actions back and forth, they make it possible for consumers to use their NFC-enabled devices, such as mobile phones, to transfer files with just a simple touch.”

The Connection Handover specification is a candidate for final release pending feedback from NFC Forum members and other standards organizations. By releasing the Connection Handover candidate specification in advance, the NFC Forum is enabling organizations in the NFC ecosystem to begin integrating it into their own work. This gives both NFC Forum member and other standards organizations an opportunity to both accelerate their development and to provide valuable feedback that can be incorporated into the final specification. Once the feedback has been evaluated and integrated, the Connection Handover specification will be officially approved and released by the NFC Forum.

About Near Field Communication Technology
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology that enables simple and safe two-way interactions among electronic devices. NFC technology allows consumers to perform contactless transactions, access digital content and connect devices with the simplicity of a single touch.

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology provides global interoperability of contactless identification and interconnection technologies. NFC operates in the 13.56 MHz frequency range, over a typical distance of a few centimeters. The underlying layers of NFC technology are based on ISO, ECMA, and ETSI standards. NFC technology is supported by the world’s leading communication device manufacturers, semiconductor producers, network operators, IT and services companies, and financial services organizations. NFC is compatible with hundreds of millions of contactless cards and readers already deployed worldwide.

About the NFC Forum
The NFC Forum 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 150+ 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: HP, MasterCard Worldwide, Microsoft Corp., NEC, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Inc., NXP Semiconductors, Panasonic, Renesas Technology, Samsung, Sony Corporation, and Visa International.