NFC Forum introduces new NFC device class that removes the need for phones and wearables to support NFC tag reading

Smart glasses being used to make NFC payment on a Visa deviceeed to support NFC tag reading
TINY FOOTPRINT: Smart glasses are a potential use case for the Card Emulation (CE) Device class

The NFC Forum has introduced a new Card Emulation Device class that makes it possible for manufacturers of wearables and low-end and mid-range smartphones to get their products certified as meeting NFC Forum requirements without needing to include support for NFC tag reading or writing.

The Card Emulation (CE) Device class answers “an industry need for wearable devices that provide basic functionality and longer battery life in a tiny footprint while maintaining interoperability with the NFC ecosystem,” the NFC Forum says.

“Typical use cases, along with the emulation of contactless banking cards for payment, include fitness trackers and sports watches, smart glasses and smart clothing, public transport contactless tickets, smart rings, key fobs, gate access or anywhere card emulation functionality is required,” it adds.  

“It’s expected that the initial key applications for the CE Device will include payment, personalisation and connection handover. Longer term, the CE Device class will move beyond payments to IoT, Mobility-as-a-Service and automotive NFC applications (beyond access).”

“Common NFC application markets like payment, IoT, mobility, healthcare and automotive will take advantage of the CE Device Class, with mid-range and low-end smartphones, car keys, sports trackers, expected to be the most typical CE devices,” the NFC Forum explains.

“Specifically, the low-end smartphone is interesting because using the CE Device will significantly reduce the upfront cost of a smartphone, helping to narrow the ‘digital divide’ and increase smartphone users, and hence those with NFC access.”

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