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By Rich Handley

NFC Forum Inks Agreements With Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association, Wireless Power Consortium

The NFC Forum has announced liaison agreements with the Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA) and the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). These alliances will allow for the adoption and usability of Near Field Communication (NFC) in packaging and wireless charging. NFC technology can add intelligence and new capabilities to packaging in order to provide information, lower costs, reduce waste and increase profitability, the organization reports. In the area of wireless charging, NFC technology will act as a key enabler by supporting greater interoperability and more compact and cost-efficient charging interfaces.

"These collaborations were established in order to promote, educate and increase interest in the use of NFC," said Paula Hunter, the NFC Forum's executive director, in a prepared statement. "Our liaison relationships are focused on unleashing innovations and removing barriers to interoperability for industry and consumers so that businesses and people everywhere can take advantage of NFC technology."

For businesses and consumers, the NFC Forum explains, these liaisons signal a step forward in ensuring that homes and workplaces will benefit from the greater ease, simplicity and enhanced security that NFC can deliver to product packaging and wireless charging. The partnership agreements, the organization adds, pave the way for accelerated NFC adoption.

AIPIA and the NFC Forum will focus on developing the latest technological innovations in intelligent and active packaging solutions. AIPIA believes that the implementation of new technologies in packaging is key to growth, enhanced efficiency and security, reduced waste, and better control in sales and marketing. Early applications of NFC technology in smart packaging include smartphone-enabled interactive tags and labels, as well as time-temperature monitors. This will be the fastest-growing segment, the NFC Forum predicts, increasing at a double-digit annual rate as NFC becomes more commercially feasible for mass-volume consumer products, following earlier NFC adoptions by higher-value goods.

The partnership of WPC and the NFC Forum will allow for greater education in the industry regarding use cases and standardization for products in wireless charging. WPC has created an interface specification, known as Qi, for wireless power transfer. Qi is a global standard that makes all smartphones that support wireless charging compatible with wireless chargers used at home, in the office and in vehicles. WPC operates a certification program to ensure that products, like NFC Forum devices, supporting Qi-based wireless charging can transfer energy seamlessly.

This program will include requirements and test methods for Qi wireless transmitters to protect NFC Forum devices and tags. The end goal, according to the organization, is to have open interoperability with the Qi standard. The implementation of NFC and wireless charging, the NFC Forum indicates, will create more compact and cost-efficient charging interfaces for portable devices, mitigate the problem of the gap between battery capacity and device power consumption, and create opportunities for integrating NFC-based services into charging applications.

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