NFC Forum Updates Specifications to Support Enhanced Connectivity of IoT Devices

The NFC Forum has announced the release of its newly published Tag NFCData ExchangeFormat Exchange Protocol Candidate Specification (TNEP) and a new candidate version of its popular Connection Handover Technical Specification (CH 1.5). The TNEP candidate specification is the first of its kind to simplify the bidirectional exchange of data between an NFC-enabled phone and an IoT device. When combined with the TNEP, CH 1.5 enables new NFC, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi negotiated handover products and solutions. Together, the two specifications offer an ideal solution for microcontroller-based designs for IoT devices.

Both candidate specifications are available for industry review before they are validated and adopted by the NFC Forum and available for general use.

TNEP Candidate Specification is Industry First

For the first time, IoT device manufacturers can now use components implementing the protocol for tag communication to create more cost-efficient designs. The TNEP is based on the standard procedure to read and write to an NFC Forum tag, meaning that all NFC-enabled smartphones allowing their apps to read and write tags are capable of supporting TNEP using an app. These apps are able to establish a bidirectional NFC communication link to IoT devices without the need to implement the Logical Link Control Protocol (LLCP) for peer-to-peer communication (P2P).

Bidirectional communication with IoT devices means NFC-enabled smartphones can read the actual state from the IoT device (e.g., the actual title of music played) and can change the configuration of the IoT device by write access (e.g., to adjust the volume or to switch to the next audio file). It can be used, for example, to configure an audio system, digital camera, lightning system, smart meter or radiator valve. This protocol can also be used where P2P is not implemented, for example, on existing NFC readers that do not support P2P mode.

Connection Handover Specification Sparks New Solutions with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

The first NFC Forum candidate specification to take advantage of this new TNEP definition is the updated version of the NFC Forum Connection Handover Technical Specification (CH 1.5). Previously, negotiated handover could only occur over a peer-to-peer connection. CH 1.5 can now use TNEP to allow an additional negotiated handover for a connection between a reader/writer and NFC tag device providing users more control over how they gather and share their information between devices, thereby increasing the security of paired connections.

By defining the messaging structure for how negotiated handover operates with a reader/writer and an NFC tag device, CH 1.5 creates the possibility for the development of new solutions pairing NFC with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi when the data to be transferred is large or streamed for a long time (e.g., Bluetooth audio streaming between a smartphone and a speaker or headset, streaming session between a smartphone and a TV, or transfer of a photo between a digital camera or a smartphone over Wi-Fi).

For more information or to comment on the candidate specifications, click here.