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EPCglobal Announces EPC Software Certification, RFID Deployment Tool
The organization has awarded EPCglobal certification marks for software based on the Reader Protocol and Application-Level Events standards.
Oct 18, 2006—As EPCglobal US's annual user conference kicked off at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, EPCglobal announced the launch of its new software certification program. The organization also awarded 11 software vendors with EPCglobal certification marks for software based on the two existing EPC software standards: the Reader Protocol (RP) 1.1 and Application-Level Events (ALE) 1.0. In addition, EPCglobal announced the release of a new tool, the EPC Implementation Tool Advisor, designed to help small and midsize businesses build out their EPC deployment road maps.
Software Conformance Testing
EPCglobal says that to earn a conformance mark, software must work in predictable ways, as defined by EPCglobal standards. By standardizing software, the organization claims it will protect end users' investments in RFID software and help them "implement EPC/RFID programs easier, faster and for less cost."
The reader protocol is a standardized communication protocol between readers and middleware enabling a middleware platform to recognize and communicate with any reader complying with the same protocol. Before it was developed, middleware providers had to use custom code to link readers from different manufacturers, adding cost and complexity to end users’ RFID deployments. The ALE protocol, used in middleware as a standard interface for filtering and consolidating EPC data from interrogators, provides a standard instruction set for how readers filter and collect tag data. Many software providers that make middleware for EPC deployments have built their products using the reader protocol and ALE standards.
MET Laboratories, EPCglobal's EPC standards-testing partner, conducted the tests, using test cases provided by EPCglobal. Sue Hutchinson, director of industry adoption for EPCglobal US, says the software action group members that authored and tested the standards devised the conformance-test criteria for the ALE and reader protocol during the standards development process. She was very pleased with the results of the test and says the establishment of software-certification testing is important because it shows that EPC deployments are no longer focused only on hardware. "People are really starting to think about the entire EPC stack" of technology, she notes, adding that the software conformance tests demonstrate that software standards are not only real, but testable.
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