Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mappy for RFID network development… turn right at the next supplier!

Agreed standards help ensure coordinated, efficient and rapid development of new technologies such as RFID radio tracking. A major report maps the stakeholders and rules affecting RFID and provides ground rules for successful standardisation.

When a technology is developing as rapidly as radio frequency identification (RFID) with the active participation of a huge range of industry sectors worldwide – from automotive manufacturing to pharmaceutical distribution and fashion retailing – it is not surprising that overlapping and, at times, conflicting standards develop, according to Peter Gabriel, spokesman for a European research project in this area.

RFID needs a coherent international approach to frequency and radio regulation, communication and data standards, network standards, application standards, as well as safety issues. Some areas require European or even global agreements, others simply require an agreed cross-sectoral approach. The complication is that the standards need to develop in parallel with the innovative research.

In such a complicated and multi-layered environment, RFID and the network that will share RFID-generated ‘Electronic Product Code’ data across the internet is developing rather quickly, according to Gabriel of the CE RFID project.

“The establishment of EPCglobal was a major breakthrough,” he says. EPCglobal is an industry-led organisation that is undertaking the establishment of RFID and Electronic Product Code standards. “[It] started just five years ago and they have built a complete system of standardisation documents… much quicker than would have been the case for an ISO standard.”

However, ISO’s reputation means that its stamp of approval is very important to anything EPCglobal develops. Gabriel points to EPCglobal’s ‘Gen 2’ air interface standard (protocols for RFID tag-to-reader interfaces) that received its ISO 18000-6 label. That speedy establishment of the standard provided a bedrock for future development.

Coordinating dynamic development
The CE RFID report provides an extensive overview of the main industries with an interest in RFID and the level of standardisation they have achieved.

The report draws on the lessons from previous investigations that tackled the same problem: how to ensure the rapid establishment of standards where the range of stakeholders is broad and the technology developing fast.

While European companies are often technology leaders in RFID and EPC, that has not translated to leadership in standards development – a particular interest to the sponsors of this EU-funded report.

The report concludes that fewer and broader standards are needed; a coordinated standardisation roadmap between the main stakeholders (especially EPCglobal and ISO) would ease development; standards should be easier to understand and work with; and regional or even national standards should be avoided where international standards are required.

The time and money European companies need to invest in a wide range of patents to cover their interests in different Member States is one example of how Europe is disadvantaged by its lack of coordination.

Another example in the report is the need for a single European radio regulation authority managing the spectrum. RFID advocates face some powerful rivals in the contest for limited frequencies.

Take UHF in Europe, RFID has only been awarded from 865-868 MHz. In the long run, this limited bandwidth is not sufficient for the expected mass applications. Moreover, the sector lacks the level of radio frequency harmonisation already reached for mobile phones.

The opportunity is now!
Many of the most powerful organisations with an interest in RFID are users rather than technology providers. Big retailers, logistics companies and others need to press the need for RFID on regulators, Gabriel suggests. Broadcasters’ move from analogue to digital will create a ‘digital dividend’ over the next 15 years. However, decisions about who will gain control of the freed-up frequencies will be made in the next two years. There is a need to act now!

Some of the frequencies available for RFID in Europe or China have already been awarded to telecoms companies in the USA for their cell-phone networks.

“We will never get a uniform spectrum in UHF,” says Gabriel. “That is not a major problem as all the frequency bands are so close. There will be minor technical problems but nothing the technology providers cannot cope with.”

The next step on the road to the complete RFID-EPC vision will be the EPCglobal internet network. Just as there were a series of air interface standards before the success of ‘Gen 2’, he expects the EPCglobal network will develop in steps.

“There will be first implementations and pilot projects for the great architecture of IT systems that is needed,” he says. “After the first standard, there will need to be a reality check. That will occur in the next one or two years.”

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>