NXP Semiconductors has announced that two of its engineers have been nominated for the highly-respected and acclaimed EPO European Inventor Award. Franz Amtmann and Philippe Maugars, along with their teams, have been recognized due to their work in the milestone creation of near field communication (NFC).

The EPO European Inventor Award aims to recognize and reward creativity of inventors the world over, who use their technical, scientific and intellectual skills to make a real contribution to technological progress, economic growth and positively impact people's daily lives.

Co-invented by NXP (formerly Philips Semiconductors) and Sony in 2002, NFC technology now securely connects hundreds of millions of smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics. NFC allows devices to establish communications between other devices and infrastructure, passing data by touching them or putting them very closely together. NXP has led the effort to establish the worldwide adoption of NFC technology, and in 2004 helped found the NFC Forum, the standards-based organization that now includes more than 170 member companies.

NFC technology supports everyday uses, such as buying goods with mobiles phones or using a debit card to ‘tap and pay’ for public transport. The technology is fast, intuitive, seamless and can establish connections without the need for battery powered connectivity. NFC is now deployed across a whole range of industries including mobile, payments, access management, consumer electronics and automotive.

Franz Amtmann, RFID lead architect, has been part of what is now NXP Semiconductors for nearly 25 years. In that time, his name has been filed on more than 50 patents, helping to drive global innovation in RFID. Philippe Maugars has worked with Philips and later NXP for 30 years, with his name listed on more than 25 patents.

Amtmann said: “To be nominated for the EPO European Inventor Award is a great acknowledgement of the entire team’s hard work, and it is also a personal highlight in my career. From my early days at Graz University of Technology, I could barely dream that one day I might play a part in inventing a technology that is changing people’s daily lives around the world.”

Maugars commented: “NFC technology was born from cooperation between teams having complementary expertise across RFID, Applications and IC Design. These technical collaborations in our labs were crucial to the success of NFC, which will only continue to grow. I feel very honoured to have contributed to this great adventure, and to be recognized by the European Patent Office is unbelievable.”