Sep 14, 2022

Leaders Lead – And Rarely Use The Mute Button

NFC Forum Chair Answers the Four Key Organizational Questions

By Preeti Ohri Khemani, Chair, NFC Forum

It is said that leaders lead. As chair of the NFC Forum that is certainly my goal.

I’ve read that for a leader to be effective, the leader must be able to answer, through their words and actions, a few basic questions for their team. The questions are simple and important.  However, these burning questions are rarely voiced. Instead, they lay unspoken in the minds of every member of a group. I’m going to answer these important questions about the NFC Forum and share how I think they apply to you.

Q.  What are we – the NFC Forum – doing?

This is the most fundamental of questions. To answer it, let’s dissect our “About the NFC Forum” statement.

The first sentence of the statement reads: “The NFC Forum aims to bring the convenience of near-field technology to life.”

This is a powerful opening statement. It is focused on usability and the end-user first. The key objective of our existence as the standardization body is to enable usability of the NFC technology for its consumers. We not only make the technology usage seamless for users while making contactless payments with smart cards and smart phones, but we also engage with our liaison partners to brings new applications to our users.

The next sentence is: “We empower organizations to deliver secure, tap-based interactions with an intuitive, reliable experience to users around the globe.”

Again, we focus on the user experience.

So, since 2004 the NFC Forum has assumed the responsibility for doing what’s necessary to ensure a good NFC user experience in daily life worldwide. That is a mighty challenge that the NFC Forum continues to successfully execute on a day-in-and-day-out basis. What we are doing is making NFC a useful reality in the daily lives of billions of people.[KPO(DDS1]  Another example is our Wayfinding Mark, a new global identifier to increase interoperability and improve the user experience of NFC connected applications and use cases. The Wayfinding Mark shows consumers an item includes NFC and guides the consumer where to tap. This goes beyond specification development and includes our certification program that ensures interoperability of a product to the NFC eco-system.

Q. Why are we doing it?

It goes without being said that we are true believers in NFC technology. NFC is already regularly used by people throughout their daily lives. The number of users is growing exponentially, as we expand beyond payment applications to other areas, focuses, and industries. Not only is the number of NFC applications increasing, so is the number of solutions provided by various companies, IC makers, system integrators, OEMs, and ODMs. As the number of devices using NFC technology grows so does the need for interoperability. The technical and test specifications developed by the NFC Forum supports seven device classes from Universal device class to NFC Tags. These devices classes, when certified using NFC’s compliance program, enable interoperability for any NFC application on its analog and digital layers.

We are convinced that NFC technology has a bright future ahead.  We want to help shape that future.

Q. Where are we going?

In the short term, we have introduced the NFC Card Emulation device class that is optimized for wearables and embedded IOT applications. We are ramping up the deployment of NFC wireless charging specifications, and have launched the Wayfinding Mark to enable users to visibly identify the tap area. We are also setting up a three-year roadmap with a renewed emphasis on the forum’s certification program and its special interest groups. We also doubled our membership to 258 in 2022[KPO(DDS2] . 

These activities are moving the NFC Forum forward in the areas of awareness, education, and membership. More specifically, below are six key objectives for the NFC Forum:

  • Develop and publicly publish a rolling three-year use case, liaison, technical, and certification release roadmap.
  • Educate enterprises, service providers, and developers on how to deploy NFC technology to deliver impactful solutions and grow their businesses.
  • Emphasize feature of “user intent” through programs, messaging, marketing, and the rollout of a visual identifier to inform users where to tap for action.
  • Enable NFC technology to deliver a consistently positive user experience in all NFC product form factors.
  • Continue to promote the compliance program, develop specifications, test mechanisms, and tools that ensure consistent, secure, and interoperable use cases worldwide.
  • Deliver increased member value for membership growth and revenue.

Q. Where do you, the NFC Forum Member, fit in?


It’s all about you. You are the brains and the body of this Forum. Members are the reason we have an NFC Forum. The NFC Forum is a member-led and contribution-driven organization.  It is your opportunity to influence NFC product development and industry direction, develop technical specifications, support new products, and witness and provide NFC use cases and further business development. It is your opportunity – responsibility – to improve the NFC user experience for billions of people on the planet. 

The NFC Forum is our voice. Improving the NFC user experience is our responsibility. Unmuting ourselves and contributing is leadership and how things get done.