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Prediction: ISO More Important Than GEN 2

This piece argues that it is the upcoming ISO's RFID standard, not GEN 2, that will provide the base upon which widespread adoption can take hold and flourish.
Tags: Standards
Mar 02, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

March 2, 2005—Since EPCglobal's ratification of the GEN 2 standard at the end of last year, the industry has been wondering if the "royalty-free" designation might be misleading. Technically, the standard certainly is royalty-free, but Intermec, the Everett, Washington-based RFID tag and hardware manufacturer and owner of an enviable portfolio of RFID-related patents, claims that its intellectual property will be required for any realistically useful RFID solution.

This piece on Frontline Solutions concurs with that opinion, and it contends that it is actually the International Standards Organization's ratification of a UHF passive air interface standard that will be the substantive step in realizing a base standard upon which truly widespread RFID adoption can take root and flourish. By offering considerably more functionality than the relatively bare-bones GEN 2, ISO 18000-6c will ensure that compliant systems are full-featured enough to be commercially viable.

Following this logic, author Thomas Polizzi strongly encourages all companies planning to purchase RFID solutions to add the following clause to their RFPs:

The equipment proposed must be compliant with the ISO 18000-6c draft standard version as of September 2005, and the selected vendor must willingly commit to upgrade such equipment to incorporate any changes reflected in the ratified form of the standard.

The question of intellectual property and royalties with respect to GEN 2 is perhaps the leading issue confronting the RFID space right now. I'd like to hear your thoughts on what role the standard will ultimately play and how Intermec's IP claims could affect RFID deployments.

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