Thinking of signing up to the NFC Forum, but balked at the $10,000 membership fee? Well now you can live your dreams of joining the premier cool-but-useless-technology forum for only half the price.
The new level of membership is called "Implementer" and joins Associate ($10K), Principal ($25K) and Sponsor ($50K) as a fully-fledged member of the Forum, unlike those non-profit organisations who slip in for a grand and don't get to come along to the marketing meetings.
Near Field Communication, to give NFC its full title, is a short-range technology supposed to enable devices to communicate by tapping them together, either to exchange small amounts of data or negotiate a more sensible connection.
Since NFC broadened its remit to include all contactless payment systems, the Forum has been able to claim compatibility with "hundreds of millions of contactless cards and readers already deployed worldwide", but the proper dream of connecting devices together with a tap remains just that, with little sign of change.
NFC was squarely aimed at cell phones, with Nokia being a primary backer of the technology, but operators (who pay for phones via the handset subsidy) couldn't be convinced of the revenue stream, so wouldn't pay for it. Since then, the balance of power has shifted, as Apple demonstrated a manufacturer can make money from end users. The NFC Forum will be trying to convince manufacturers to embed the technology into devices, but still can't provide a convincing revenue stream to make it worthwhile.
Thus the new "Implementer" membership, for all those handset makers looking to differentiate their devices with a technology few have heard of and even fewer can find a use for. ®
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