The NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association that advances the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, has published three specifications, all of which are available now to the public for download at no charge. The three specifications are the Personal Health Device Communication (PHDC) Technical Specification, and the Connection Handover 1.3 and Signature Record Type Definition (RTD) 2.0 Candidate Technical Specifications.
The PHDC Technical Specification enables devices such as wireless blood pressure monitors, weighing scales, and glucose meters to transmit health data easily via NFC technology to external computer systems for monitoring by physicians. Wireless health monitoring devices are being increasingly advocated by health care providers as a means of better managing chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, and reducing health care costs. NFC technology supports these use cases by making communication between health devices, computers, and NFC-enabled phones fast, easy, and intuitive.
Formerly a candidate specification, the PHDC Technical Specification provides an interoperable data transport for personal health devices conforming to the ISO/IEEE-11073-20601 Optimized Exchange Protocol and NFC Forum specifications.
Health Care and Consumer Electronics are two of five areas of growth targeted by the NFC Forum as part of its Special Interest Group (SIG) initiative. The NFC Forum also supports SIGs for Retail, Payment, and Transport.
The two other specifications published are candidate technical specifications:
- The Connection Handover 1.3 Candidate Technical Specification defines the structure and sequence of interactions that allow two NFC-enabled devices to establish a connection using other wireless communication technologies, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This makes it possible for solutions providers to deploy applications that combine the simple, one-touch set-up of NFC with the high-speed communication of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Connection Handover also supports static handover, in which the connection handover information is stored on an NFC tag. Version 1.3 of Connection Handover includes updates to the Connection Handover 1.2 Technical Specification, as well as support for mediated handover, whereby an NFC-enabled device acts as a handover mediator to facilitate connection handover between two other NFC-enabled devices. This capability is useful if those two devices are difficult to place in proximity to each other due to weight, size, or having a fixed location.
- The Signature RTD 2.0 Candidate Technical Specification provides developers with a means of enabling users to verify the authenticity and integrity of data within NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) messages. It specifies the format used when signing NDEF records and provides a list of suitable signature algorithms and certificate types that can be used to create signatures. Signature RTD 2.0 adds to the features of Signature RTD Technical Specification 1.0 (published in 2010) by supporting compact certificate formats to accommodate most tag types, and increasing security strength by supporting National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Federal Office of Information Security (BSI) recommended algorithms. Signature RTD 2.0 is designed to be open to all Certificate Authorities (CA), such as those issuing certificates for Transport Layer Security (TLS).
“Together, the Personal Health Device Communication specification and updates to the Connection Handover and Signature RTD specifications enable solutions providers to both broaden and focus the power of NFC in a growing variety of use cases and industries, from Health Care to Consumer Electronics,” said Koichi Tagawa, NFC Forum Chairman. “We are especially grateful to our members who helped to bring these specifications to fruition, and to our liaison partner Continua Health Alliance for its collaboration and adoption of PHDC into the latest Continua Guidelines.”
Candidate specifications remain candidates for final release pending feedback from NFC Forum members and other standards organizations. By releasing candidate specifications, the NFC Forum enables organizations in the NFC ecosystem to begin integrating them into their own work. This gives both NFC Forum members and other standards organizations an opportunity to accelerate their development and provide valuable feedback that can be incorporated into the final specifications. Once the feedback has been evaluated and integrated, the specification will be officially adopted and released by the NFC Forum.
About Near Field Communication Technology
NFC technology makes life easier and more convenient for consumers around the world by making it simpler to make transactions, exchange digital content, and connect electronic devices with a touch. A standards-based connectivity technology, NFC harmonizes today’s diverse contactless technologies, enabling current and future solutions in areas such as access control, consumer electronics, health care, information collection and exchange, loyalty and coupons, payments, and transport. 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.