GCF, the Global Certification Forum, has created a new membership category for manufacturers of wireless connected devices which will make its mobile device certification scheme more accessible.
Associate Manufacturer Membership has been specially developed to assist manufacturing companies who may be starting out on the development of wireless connected devices or may not currently have the depth of wireless technical expertise in-house to qualify as a full Manufacturer Member of GCF.
Wireless connectivity is transforming, and greatly enhancing, the functionality, appeal and utility of many products. Embedded wireless connectivity, based on wireless modules, is spreading rapidly from laptops and tablets into an increasingly diverse range of enterprise, industrial and consumer electronics products including smart meters and cars.
GCF Certification allows a manufacturer to demonstrate that its connected device meets an internationally trusted benchmark of interoperability, giving assurance of connectivity and operation on networks worldwide. Certification can help expand the addressable market for a product. The world’s leading mobile phone, tablet and embedded wireless module manufacturers are already members of GCF.
Any company developing a connected device that will be marketed under its own brand name and incorporates a GCF-certified wireless module can now apply to become an Associate Manufacturer Member via the GCF website.
GCF’s well-defined and globally-recognized procedures confirm a certified device conforms to relevant wireless standards. The evidence of a device’s real-world operation can help build confidence among potential distribution partners.
The discipline inherent in the certification process can also help uncover latent issues before commercial deployment commences, reducing the financial or reputational risk of having to recall or re-engineer devices post-sale.
Lars Nielsen, GCF Operations Manager, said:
“The success of any connected device ultimately depends on its interoperability.”
“Associate Manufacturer Membership demonstrates our commitment to making GCF’s benchmark of interoperability more accessible to all connected device manufacturers.”
Associate Manufacturer Members are required to work with a Third Party Assessment Capable Entity (ACE) to identify the Conformance, Field Trial and Interoperability tests that need to be undertaken. All Third Party ACEs are GCF Members, typically from the test sector, and formally recognised by GCF as possessing the necessary skills, qualifications and practical experience of GCF processes to facilitate GCF certification.
When all testing identified by the ACE has been completed by a GCF RecognisedTest Organisation, the test results are reviewed by the ACE before being submitted to GCF for completion of the process and the publication of the device certification on the GCF website.
The Global Certification Forum GCF is an active partnership between network operators, device manufacturers and the test industry. Since its inception in 1999, GCF has created an independent certification programme to help ensure global interoperability between mobile devices and networks. By providing the focal point for the world’s most experienced practitioners in conformance testing, field trials and certification, GCF establishes best practice for the certification of mobile phones and the ever-expanding range of devices that incorporate wireless broadband connectivity. During 2012, 430 different 3GPP mobile phone, wireless modem and connected device models were GCF Certified.