NFC Forum Certification Program FAQs
What is the NFC Forum Certification Program?
What is the Certification Program and what is its purpose?
The Certification Program provides differentiation for NFC Forum members by shortening the product adoption process, lowering adoption costs, and making product implementations easier for partners to integrate.
How does the Certification Program fit within the Compliance Program?
Together, the components of the Compliance Program form the foundation for a gold standard in NFC implementations and support the goal of achieving interoperability. By participating in the NFC Forum Compliance Program, NFC Forum members establish confidence and credibility in the technology for everyone in the value chain, enabling a flourishing NFC ecosystem.
The Certification Program is complemented by optional interoperability testing events called Plugfests, which are held several times a year in different regions. Plugfests are open to non-members of the NFC Forum, as well as to members.
The NFC Forum Plugfest events are designed to support early adoption of the NFC Forum specifications by providing a safe, real-world environment where device, tag, and test tool interoperability can be verified across manufacturers’ products.
The NFC Forum recommends that you attend Plugfests to test the interoperability of your products, whether or not they have completed the certification process, with other NFC-enabled devices. Although optional, Plugfests are part of a comprehensive integrated effort that reduces risk and the investment required in adopting new technology.
What does Certification mean?
Will all certified NFC-enabled devices work together?
Certification provides the foundation for device interoperability.
Can anyone certify products?
What is the NFC Forum Certification Mark?
The NFC Forum Certification Mark may be used on product packaging, websites, sales materials, and documentation, to indicate that a product has met the standards of the NFC Forum Compliance Program. Use of the Certification Mark is granted to NFC Forum members once the NFC Forum Certification process is completed. Specific guidelines describe how to use the Certification Mark correctly.
What does Certification cost?
Why Should We Certify Our Products?
What are the benefits of certifying our NFC products?
Benefits to your company of product certification include:
- Attracting customers who prefer to purchase a certified product over a non-certified product
- Differentiating your products from uncertified products, thus offering a potential commercial advantage
- Providing test evidence that is preferred and/or required by other NFC Forum partner organizations
- Listing your product on the certified product register on the public NFC Forum website
- Increasing the likelihood that your product will interoperate with other NFC-Forum Certified Devices
- Increasing the possibility that other NFC ecosystem players may develop applications for your device
- Authorizing ability to display the NFC Forum Certification Mark on your website, sales material, and packaging
NFC Forum Certification provides differentiation for NFC Forum members by shortening the product adoption process, lowering adoption costs, and making product implementations easier for partners to integrate.
Is Certification required if we say that our products employ NFC?
How will customers know that our products are certified?
What is the Certification Mark? How do I use it?
The Certification Mark can be displayed on collateral, sales materials, websites, product packaging, and documentation to signify a product meets global standards and establish credibility across the NFC ecosystem that products will perform consistently
The Certification Mark should not be used on a device
What is the N-Mark? How do I use it?
For guidance on how to use the N-Mark, please consult the N-Mark Usage Guidelines. The N-Mark brand logo and supporting assets files are available for download upon signing the N-Mark Trademark License Agreement. The N-Mark may be used regardless of certification.
Should we certify our tags?
The Forum has specified five tag types that can be used with NFC-enabled devices.
How Does the Certification Program Work?
What is included in the Certification Program?
What is the correlation between Device Requirement document releases and Certification and Test Releases?
A new version of the Device Requirements can trigger product hardware and software changes. Testing for the new feature(s) will be announced and activated via a Certification Release.
Testing documents via Test Releases are published periodically (~1 / year) and may include new tests, updates to existing tests, or clarifications.
New feature testing will be added to the Certification Program via a new Certification Release only when:
- Test specs for the new feature are ready
- Test tools are validated with the new feature
- Authorized test labs are able to test the new feature
What is the process for certifying our products?
There are three phases to the certification process:
- Planning: prepare by learning about the NFC Forum Device Requirements, understanding the rules for certifying, and deciding which Release you will certify to
- Testing: to verify that your product complies with the NFC Forum specifications, you should now select an authorized test lab and submit your product for testing, then assemble the package of certification documents when testing is completed
- Reporting: register your company with the Certification Administrator, execute the required legal agreements, and submit your application along with the appropriate fees
The Certification Administrator will inform you of the outcome of your submission. For more details about the Certification System itself, refer to the system’s Frequently Asked Questions.
Are there NFC Forum-authorized Test Labs? Can my company become one?
What is a Certification Release?
For example, when new Certification Release Y is introduced, Certification Release X, its predecessor, is given an 18-month grace period before it sunsets and Certification Release Y is required. During this 18-month period, manufacturers can apply for Certification under either Certification Release X or Y, but when the 18 months ends, certification may no longer be done using Certification X. The timeline is represented graphically in the figure below.
What is a Test Release?
What are Test Groups?
If we revise or update our product, do we have to re-certify it?
If changes affect a product’s RF functionality, such as an updated antenna, re-certification is automatically required. Note that if a product requires re-testing, you may accomplish it using the same or a subsequent version of the Test Specification originally used. You may also reuse partial test results where you haven’t made changes to the original product.
Will my product remain certified after a Certification Release sunsets?
What if Test Releases change, will I need to re-test my implementation?
If my certified product gets a name change or is re-branded by an OEM, does it need to be re-certified?
Can a new product that includes a part or portion of a previously certified implementation inherit that certification, or must the full product be re-tested?
Yes, in some circumstances certification can be inherited. Requirements for including a certified implementation in a secondary product include:
- Inheritance of test results from a previously certified implementation is allowed for Digital Protocol, Logical Link Control Protocol (LLCP), and Simple NDEF Exchange Protocol (SNEP) testing.
- Inheritance of Analog test results from a previously certified implementation is NOT allowed.
What happens when I implement a feature defined in a new version of the Device Requirements that is not in a Certification Release?
- Note that nothing prevents a manufacturer from implementing a new feature even if it will not be tested during certification. Assuming backwards compatibility of the testing, the product can be certified to the currently available Certification Release.
- Early adopters of new features are encouraged to support the certification program by making samples available for test tool validation and participating in Plugfest events.
What Is Changing in the Certification Program for 2016?
What are the differences in the Certification Policy Version 1.5 as compared to the previous version?
The NFC Forum added new capability to Certification Policy Version 1.5 including:
- Added “Device Class” to the Certification Program Registry in order to enable certification for multiple device types (devices are defined in DEVREQ)
- Introduced “Test Tracks.” A Test track is used to group conformance and/or interoperability tests into groups. In order to support devices supporting varying levels of functionality in the future, test tracks were made to encompass those subsets of functionality.
- Extended the scope of the NFC Forum Compliance Program to add the ability to verify features utilizing interoperability testing
- Added “Testbed” as a type of Test Tool to enable interoperability testbeds
- The ability for members to create a New Test Item Work Request Form and submit it for addition to the Certification Program