Aug 11, 2022

NFC Wireless Charging Testing and Certification: A Quick Primer

“Test Report 13.1” is a boring name. Its acronym, TR13.1, isn’t much better in terms of building excitement.

However, this is one of those times where the phrase “never judge a book by its cover” is important to remember.

TR13.1 is important to any company that wants to ensure that their NFC-enabled wirelessly charged product(s) will work the way that they are advertised to consumers. Without test reports and certifications, a company can’t definitively know that their product is interoperable in the NFC eco-system. Launching a product without testing and certification is referred to as “running bare.” It’s a risky thing to do, as it can lead to errors and angry customers.

Below is a quick primer on NFC Forum Certification and TR13.1 from NFC Forum Compliance Committee Chair Arnaud Schreiner (NXP Semiconductors) to help you navigate and mitigate product development risk. For more information, read the TR13.1 press release.

Q. Why TR13.1?

The NFC Forum Certification Program generates the NFC eco-system. It allows organizations to be part of it by ensuring that their NFC-enabled products are interoperable with all the NFC devices certified previously and in the future. NFC Forum certification is emerging as a mandatory “check-off box” in the product development process.

NFC Wireless Charging has already proven to be a good fit to charge small IoT devices and selected by all the main countries radio regulation. Therefore, NFC Forum has an opportunity to bring value to the NFC eco-system by standardizing this feature and providing the means to verify compliance. With TR13.1, manufacturers can verify the compliancy of their product with the latest NFC Wireless Charging (WLC) 2.0 specification.

TR13.1 also heralded the launch of a new device class called NFC Card Emulation. It allows a device like a smartwatch or other wearable device to be NFC Forum-certified.

 Q. How does TR13.1 and NFC Forum Certification help me?

We are seeing more and more small IoT devices coming into the market where the manufacturer wants to have less connectors and wants to avoid the use of short-term batteries. They want to recharge wirelessly for a more reliable and ecological solution. NFC WLC is the most relevant technology for this use case.

TR13.1 provides a way for manufacturers to verify their implementation against NFC Forum specifications to ensure that their product(s) will be interoperable with other devices and contribute to creating a wider charging ecosystem.

Moreover, charging receiver devices that obtain TR13.1 certification are now part of the NFC eco-system. As a result, new use cases are enabled where devices can be charged not only with the dedicated charger, but also with a NFC-enabled mobile phone that be used as a secondary wireless charging station.

Q. Where is TR13.1 being used or considered for use now?

The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) is the first external organization to refer to TR13.1 for the NFC Wireless Charging testing. USI-enabled digital pens will be certified for the NFC WLC feature against TR13.1. This partnership will be used as an example to deploy NFC WLC in many other use cases.

Today, NFC WLC is used in many commercial devices like smart glasses, fitness trackers, and smart locks. In the future, it will be used as well in action cameras, earbuds – usually any small battery powered, hermetically-sealed, IoT devices.

Q. What's the value of NFC certification to a company? To a product manager?

Companies spend millions of dollars for new product development and millions more to promote a new product. There are many things that a company can do to help ensure success, but where NFC can help is by testing and certifying that the product will work in the NFC eco-system. The process is quick, low-cost and reduces risk of interoperability issue. For more information on NFC Forum Certification, visit our website.

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