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 A Standards Update - An introduction to RFID standards

Welcome to the first edition of a new column about standards in the Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) industry. This column will be updated regularly to keep you current on news of standards and their impact on the industry.

In the coming months, we will try to educate you on the various technologies covered under the AIDC umbrella as well as bring news of the standardization process and its progress. If you have news about standards that you want to share, or questions you want to ask, send them to steve@hightechaid.com and we will try to incorporate them into the next column.

The need for standards has become apparent to almost everyone. As one of the major barcode suppliers put it "…without standards for the various symbologies, we would be nowhere. The existence of multiple variations of a symbology would make our job (manufacturing equipment) near impossible, without even thinking about the problems the end user would have. Imagine if your credit card only worked in a 25% of the POS terminals you used." The explosive growth of barcode technology over the past ten years is due in part to the willingness of the various inventors of symbologies to put their inventions in the public domain and allow for open standards. As we explore the various standards for AIDC technologies, we will try to show the need and benefits of standardization as well as highlight the various efforts that are taking place in the world.

High Tech Aid offers Resources in AIDC technologies such as RFID and barcode as well as NFC and Internet of ThingsThis issue we are going to start with a hot topic - Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). This technology has been around for a while, but it is only just beginning to build momentum and many people are talking about standards in the industry.

The technology involves the use of a tag or transponder and a reader to communicate information from a single bit to several kilo-bytes over a wireless link. The name RFID is actually a slight misnomer as there are many frequencies in use for this technology from around 100 kHz to nearly 6 GHz, a frequency range from just above the audio range into the microwave range. However, all the systems have one thing in common, they communicate over the airwaves.

To start you thinking about RFID, you may like to visit a useful resource on the world wide web, http://www.rfid.org. Sponsored by AIM, as part of the global initiative on RFID, this new web site is devoted entirely to RFID and contains some great information for you to use and enjoy including:

  • A Primer on the technology will get you up-to-speed fast, helping you understand the differences between the various variations in the technology.

  • A Glossary of terms will help you get a grasp on the terminology

AIM has taken a lead in RFID with initiatives in Europe, Japan, and USA with participation from all aspects of the technology. Other organizations and standards bodies (like ISO/IEC JTC1, CEN, UPU, MHI, ETSI, ITRU, SCMLC/ICAC, CEPT, AIAG, VICS, CIDEX, IEEE, ASTN to name a few) are also working towards standardization of RFID in different areas and we will try to cover this work in future columns.

The next issue of this column will start to discuss the need for standards and how they influence us all. We will start to look at the work that is already underway in standards on RFID and some of the other AIDC technologies.