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ISO Incorporates Gen2 into RFID Standard

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has amended its existing passive UHF RFID standard to include the EPCglobal Gen2 standard. The inclusion now means that Gen2-compliant RFID hardware will also be considered compliant by ISO standards.
Jul 12, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

July 12, 2006—The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has amended its existing passive UHF RFID standard to include the EPCglobal Gen2 standard. The inclusion now means that Gen2-compliant RFID hardware will also be considered compliant by ISO standards. RFID Update spoke about the development with Gay Whitney, EPCglobal's director of standards.

There had actually already been an ISO standard describing UHF RFID entitled ISO/IEC 18000-6 Type C, or, more informally, "18000-6C". That standard and Gen2 were exceedingly similar, however; the minor differences were "really semantic", according to Whitney. Rather than have the redundancy of two international standards for UHF RFID, it made sense to achieve parity. "It was really a matter of synching them up," said Whitney. The result was the incorporation of Gen2 as Type C of the existing ISO/IEC 18000-6. The amended standard was then approved late last month.

The significance of the Gen2 inclusion in the ISO RFID standard is that it affirms EPCglobal's ability to deliver a global standard, according to Whitney. RFID technology vendors can now feel even more confident about the Gen2 standard, she said, because ISO has a sixty-year history and an entrenched position as the world's de facto standards body across myriad industries and technologies. "The ISO acceptance does help us in reasserting EPCglobal as an authoritative standards organization." Whitney noted that it is particularly helpful in Asia, where the ISO brand and history will add weight to EPCglobal's assertion as a global organization.

From an end-user perspective, the incorporation of Gen2 into ISO/IED 18000 will hopefully result in wider variety and lower prices for RFID equipment. By certifying their Gen2 wares, RFID hardware vendors will implicitly also achieve ISO certification. "It will translate to more commercially available hardware at competitive prices sooner for all of our industries," said Whitney.

The ISO/IEC 18000-6 standard document, including the Gen2 amendment, is available for purchase and download on the ISO site for 212 Swiss Francs (roughly US$172).
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