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Ecma welcomes ISO/IEC adoption of NFC Standard for short range wireless communication

Near Field Communications (NFC) protocol establishes instant network connections between devices.

Geneva, 8 December 2003:

ISO and IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC 1) have adopted ECMA-340 (NFCIP-1 - Near Field Communication Interface and Protocol) as ISO/IEC 18092.

NFC is a very short-range protocol, for distances measured in centimetres, and is optimised for intuitive easy and secure communications between various devices without user configuration.

In order to make two devices communicate, users bring them close together or even make them touch. This will engage the NFCIP-1 wireless devices' interfaces and configure them to form a peer-to-peer network. NFC can also bootstrap other protocols like Bluetooth or Wireless Ethernet (WiFi) by exchanging the configuration and session data.

Users can rely on the protocol to be secure since the devices must be placed very close to each other. The procedure for establishing communication is inherently familiar to people: bring together or touch to connect.

In 2002, Ecma formed a special Task Group to specify the NFC signal interfaces and protocols. In December 2002, the Ecma General Assembly adopted NFCIP-1 as ECMA-340. In February 2003, Ecma submitted ECMA-340 to ISO/IEC JTC1 for adoption under their fast-track procedure as ISO/IEC 18092.

Sour Chhor, GM of the market sector Identification Infrastructure and Services at Philips Semiconductors, said, “Philips envisions a world where everyone can always connect to information, entertainment and services with NFC playing a vital role in making this happen. Therefore, we are pleased that NFC has become an ISO standard, which will provide the necessary basis for manufacturers to develop and introduce mass consumer products. It will ensure roll-out into various applications that have not been possible before."
“Providing an intuitive, user-friendly communication link, NFC will enhance consumer lifestyle and bring convergence between consumer electronics, communications and computing industries."

Yoshihisa TakayamaStandardisation and Promotion Section of FeliCa Business Centre, Senior Manager of Sony Corporation, observed: "People interact with devices through metaphors. Today's networks, devices and interfaces make significant demands on users. For example one has to be an expert in clicking icons and menus on two devices to establish a Bluetooth connection. Bringing two devices close to establish communications is natural, human and intuitive. NFCIP-1 standardises the physical and data-link layers only, and it can support higher layer protocols. Therefore, Sony sees it as a 'virtual connector' for wireless 'virtual cables' (e.g. Bluetooth)."

Alain Berthon, strategic marketing manager at Texas Instruments RFid, said: "Texas Instruments is excited by the NFC concept and the opportunities it brings to interconnect existing communication standards such as Bluetooth, contact-less smart cards, and mobile telephony.  We look forward to participating in further developments."

"The cooperation between the three companies (Sony, Philips and TI) within the Ecma organization has been excellent and reflects the need for open standards that the market expects. We can now dream of a real wireless world where users can enjoy many convenient and timesaving benefits, all 'unplugged'."

Jan van den Beld, Secretary General of Ecma International, welcomed the news, "The rapid and efficient production of a standard to address a clearly interesting market opportunity and to improve interworking of technologies illustrates Ecma's value. Ecma is nothing more or less than the hard work and optimism of its members, who lead the technology economy."

Onno Elzinga, CTO of Ecma International, noted: "Although the idea to use wireless proximity communication is strikingly simple, it enables personalised, secure auto-configuration of a myriad of appliances."

About Ecma International

Since its inception in 1961, Ecma International has developed standards for information and communication technology (ICT) and consumer electronics (CE). Ecma is a not-for-profit industry association of technology developers, vendors and users. Industry and other experts work together in Ecma to complete standards. Ecma then submits the approved work for approval as ISO, ISO/IEC and ETSI standards.

Main areas of standardization include: Scripting and programming languages; Optical and Magnetic storage; High speed interconnects; Safety, Environmental, Acoustical and Electromagnetic product attributes; Enterprise and Proximity Communication and Networking; and File and Volume structures. Publications can be downloaded free from:


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