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GS1, ETSI, CEN Establish Global RFID Standards Forum

The three organizations will work together with others around the world to move toward an international set of standards for RFID.
By Rhea Wessel
Feb 20, 2008Three European standards bodies have joined forces to coordinate the global dialogue on RFID-related standards as part of a European Union-funded project called the Global RFID Interoperability Forum for Standards (GRIFS).

GRIFS was officially launched this month at the Interoperability Conference in Warsaw, by GS1, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). The three organizations will work together for two years with standard setters around the world to move toward a global set of RFID standards.


Henri Barthel
GS1 is a private, nonprofit standards setter for the global supply chain. ETSI, founded by the European Union in 1988 as an independent organization, is credited with establishing the GSM standard. And CEN works to establish standards by bringing together national bodies from across Europe.

"There are bilateral exchanges here and there, but there is not really a place where people who have plans and actions can share their work and exchange their agendas and business plans in a formal way," says Henri Barthel, GS1's director of global partnerships and projects, who works with external standard organizations such as ISO.

The project's goal is twofold, Barthel explains: First, GRIFS members plan to analyze ongoing standardization activities, and second, they want to establish relationships with parties working on standards, with the intention of "aligning" the standards and continuing the dialogue after the project is completed. GRIFS aims to minimize the expense of developing local standards that are not globally interoperable.

"The project is a European initiative, but it has a global scope, " Barthel says. "We will involve Japanese, Chinese, American and other national and regional standard organizations. We are not pushing one standard over the other. We want to speed the standards-setting process by sharing information and, ideally, by enabling decisions to be made in certain areas."

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