Industry bodies align to standardise on-device NFC service management no matter where it is hosted

ETSI, GlobalPlatform and the NFC Forum detailed a standardised approach to implementing and managing 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 original equipment makers (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.
    • 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.

Gil Bernabeu

This fragmentation can cause unpredictable behavior 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.”

“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,” added, Gil Bernabeu, technical director of GlobalPlatform.

“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.”

“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,” said Paula Hunter, executive director of the NFC Forum.

“Legacy contactless systems were not always designed to work together, so the NFC service management framework no 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.”

The standardised approach is detailed in a joint white paper – Ensure Interworking Between Multiple Contactless Card Emulation Environments. The related industry specification, GlobalPlatform Managing Entity Specification will be released in 2017.

This will be supported by the latest versions of ETSI TS 102 221, ETSI TS 102 622 and NFC Forum NCI Technical Specification Version 2.0, currently a candidate specification that is to be published before the end of this year.

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