The NFC Forum and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable the two organizations to work more closely together, via a formal liaison relationship.
The NFC Forum and the Bluetooth SIG have collaborated previously, most recently in the creation of a developers' guide entitled "Bluetooth Secure Simple Pairing Using NFC," which was jointly published as an Application Document. Under the new agreement, the two organizations will work together to update and maintain the Application Document to accommodate Bluetooth Smart products using the Low Energy feature of the Bluetooth specification. They may also evaluate the feasibility of incorporating NFC technology testing that utilizes Bluetooth technology into interoperability events hosted by both organizations.
The agreement also calls for the two organizations to evaluate opportunities to enhance interoperability and the user experience of devices that use their technologies.
NFC and Bluetooth are complementary wireless technologies that can be designed to work in concert in certain use cases. For example, manufacturers have the flexibility to use NFC technology in conjunction with Bluetooth Secure Simple Pairing (SSP) by supporting both negotiated and static handover between Bluetooth devices, such as wireless headsets, personal health devices, smartphones, cars, and TVs.
There are about 400 million NFC-ready devices deployed in 2013, and the number is expected to grow to 1 billion by 2016, according to NFC Forum Executive Director Paula Hunter.
As for Bluetooth, about 20,000 companies that are members of the SIG have shipped about 3 billion Bluetooth-ready devices globally in 2013, a number expected to reach 8 billion by 2016, said Chuck Sabin, director of product management at the Bluetooth SIG.