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AIM Launches Campaign to Grow Membership, Participation

Hoping to spur more small companies to join, the auto-ID trade association and its North America branch are lowering dues and providing greater access to global activities.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Standards
Jul 28, 2009Automatic identification trade association AIM Global has announced that it is restructuring itself and its AIM North America division. A primary goal of this restructuring is to attract more small North American RFID companies to the worldwide parent association and its committees and activities. The association's North American division has launched a drive to lower dues for small companies, and to provide them with automatic membership to all of AIM's international activities.

These changes, which include creating sectors for different types and sizes of companies, along with price scales for dues to reflect those sectors, are intended to make association membership more affordable and desirable for RFID companies that hope to have a part in decision-making, such as discussions of technology standards. AIM's RFID Experts Group, for instance, has developed four implementation guidelines. These include ISO/IEC TR 24729-2, a technical report that explores the environmental impact of RFID tags, and how to employ them to facilitate product recycling (see Industry Groups Study RFID at the Supply Chain's End), and ISO/IEC TR 24729-4, which examines methods for preventing unauthorized access to information on an RFID tag and in an RFID system

Steve Doerfler
"A tremendous amount of time and effort has been put into this by AIM Global and AIM North America," says Steve Doerfler, an AIM North America board member, and president and CEO of Iowa label manufacturer Metalcraft. "We realize that a lot of changes are being made in the industry, and we wanted to be more connected to those industry members."

The result is an overhaul of AIM Global itself, which will now be known simply as AIM. At present, membership in AIM North America automatically grants a company membership into AIM. That was not the case previously, when AIM North America—which was less expensive to join than its global parent organization—granted members access only to activities within that North American division, but little voice in activities taking place on worldwide. For that reason, businesses often joined either AIM Global or AIM North America, but not both. With the restructuring, North America members now have access to AIM and all of its activities.

The new system will reduce the confusion of potential North American members, says AIM board member Matt Schler, who also leads the fixed retail scanning division of Datalogic, a bar-code and RFID hardware manufacturer. Previously, he notes, members simply did not know which activities they had access to, and which they did not. "The key is to take that confusion away," he states. "They now have extended worldwide access. That is a huge benefit—particularly for smaller manufacturers and distributors to gain access to decision making on a global level."

Doerfler declines to provide a dollar range for the new dues, but indicates that small companies would see a significant fee reduction. The dues structure will now be based on market segment, with membership divided among manufacturers, channel businesses or resellers, associates (including government entities and end users), independent software providers and distributors. Most of North America's approximately 100 AIM members in the global and North American groups are either manufacturers or resellers. With the new fee structure, Doerfler expects more small companies will become members. Currently, there are approximately 700 AIM members worldwide.

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