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Technology Companies Create RAIN to Promote EPC UHF RFID Adoption

Founded by Impinj, Smartrac, Intel and Google, the organization will be operated under the umbrella of AIM and hopes to attract hundreds of members.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 09, 2014

Four technology companies have teamed up to form RAIN RFID, an organization whose mission is to promote the adoption of EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID. The organization—founded by Impinj, Intel, Google and Smartrac, and hosted by automatic-identification trade association AIM—is focused on driving UHF RFID deployment through education, testing and support of technology developers and end users. The group announced its launch today at RFID Journal LIVE! 2014, taking place this week in Orlando, Fla.

The word RAIN—an acronym derived from RAdio frequency IdentificatioN—is intended as a nod to the link between UHF RFID and the cloud, where RFID-based data can be stored, managed and shared via the Internet. With a six-member board consisting of an AIM liaison, four elected directors and a president, the alliance was conceived following standards organization GS1's ratification of the UHF Gen2v2 standard in November 2013 (see GS1 Ratifies EPC Gen2v2, Adds Security Features, More Memory). That ratification, says Chris Diorio, RAIN's chairman of the board and Impinj's chief strategy and technology officer, signifies further maturity in the UHF market, at the same time that item-level UHF RFID tagging for the retail sector has grown exponentially.

Steve Halliday, RAIN's president
The UHF market, Diorio says, is ready for an industry alliance that can deliver a consistent and focused message about the benefits of radio frequency identification. With that effort in mind, the four-member group has begun recruiting new RAIN members, including both RFID vendors and end users. The group hopes to attract more than 500 members during its first year, says Steve Halliday, RAIN's president. The organization will offer a variety of membership benefits, including industry research, education, promotion and services that connect industry members and end users. Members will be able to use RAIN's logo and brand, and will receive a quarterly newsletter, industry statistics and an annual industry report.

The alliance initially intends to increase awareness of the new organization, as well as its membership, through education efforts. Halliday says he expects RAIN will develop white papers and other materials describing how the technology works and the benefits it provides, and will disseminate those materials to the industry and users. UHF RFID has experienced significant global growth, and the founders felt that an alliance is necessary to represent the industry, especially in recognition of Gen2v2's new capabilities for UHF RFID. The group will provide assistance to companies that wish to deploy the technology within their own organizations or ecosystems, which could include developing tools for measuring the return on investment (ROI) related to the use of RFID for each unique project.

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