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Gen 2 Candidate Passes First ISO Ballot

The 18000-6 Part C candidate amendment, submitted to ISO by EPCglobal and based on the Gen 2 standard, passed its preliminary ballot with no major technical changes.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jun 15, 2005On June 7, during an ISO standards meetings held in Singapore, candidate amendment ISO 18000-6 Part C passed the preliminary ballot without any significant technical changes to the specification. The amendment is based on EPCglobal’s Gen 2 standard.

To manufacturers and users of products based on the Gen 2 standard, the passage of the amendment through its first ISO ballot sends a positive message that those products will also likely become ISO-compliant.

ISO's Michael Guillory
"This first-ballot stage is usually the most critical to the passage of an amendment," says Michael Guillory, an independent technical consultant and the vice chair of ISO's U.S. Technical Advisory Group, under which the amendment is being balloted. "Now that we've got past this stage, it's looking very good,” he says, adding that he doesn’t anticipate any issues with the amendment being passed through a subsequent ballot.

In the months following a January ISO standards meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., the amendment had been circulating among the 27 national bodies represented in the Subcommittee on Automatic Data Capture (Subcommittee 31) of the ISO Joint Technical Committee for Information Technology. Subcommittee members from 20 national bodies, including the United States, voted in favor of the amendment; there was one abstention, and six members did not respond.

The amendment's authoring committee (part of a subgroup of Subcommittee 31) is now revising the document based on comments submitted during the ISO meeting last week. In August, the amendment is set to enter its next ballot stage, during which the members of Subcommittee 31 will again review it and submit additional comments until this second ballot stage closes in mid-fall. At that time, the ISO subcommittee will meet once more to vote and review any further comments submitted by ISO members. Any revisions required based on those comments will be made, and the amendment will then be sent out for its final (yes or no) ballot around the end of the year. All members of the ISO Joint Technical Committee will participate in that final vote.

Guillory says that during the Singapore meetings, the subcommittee reviewed approximately 175 comments on the amendment. Of these, 50 were technical in nature; the balance were general or editorial comments on misspellings and other matters. Many of the technical comments were requests for clarification of specifications within the amendment, he says, but all of them were resolved or clarified during the meetings to the satisfaction of the members. Where required, the amendment is now being revised to reflect those resolutions.

Sue Hutchinson, director of product management for EPCglobal US, says she's quite pleased with the passage of the amendment through the first ballot. "The fact that we can go forward with no technical change is wonderful," she says, adding that EPCglobal might make nontechnical editorial revisions to the Gen 2 standard to make the EPCglobal Gen 2 documentation match as closely as possible to the candidate amendment's language. "Anything we can do to get these [documents] harmonized is important."

At the January meetings, a group of Japanese delegates submitted a proposal called the Hibiki specification, which was essentially a stripped-down version of the Gen 2 standard, and asked that it be added to the candidate amendment. The ISO subcommittee agreed to review the proposal and later held a series of ad hoc meetings with the Japanese delegates to review the specification (see Japan Offers ISO a Gen 2 Alternative). Ultimately, however, the subcommittee rejected that proposal.

Guillory reports that Japanese delegates linked to the Hitachi proposal submitted 10 to 12 technical comments for last week's meeting, but none of the comments resulted in any "substantive technical changes" to the amendment.
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