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RFID Data Sharing Standard EPCIS is Ratified

EPCglobal today announced the ratification of Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS), a secure, real-time standard for data sharing among trusted organizations. The ratification marks a key milestone in the effort to enable RFID-based supply chain visibility across trading partners and across continents.
Apr 16, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

April 16, 2007—EPCglobal today announced the ratification of Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS), a secure, real-time standard for data sharing among trusted organizations. The ratification marks a key milestone in the effort to enable RFID-based supply chain visibility across trading partners, industries, even nations.

EPCIS defines a standard set of methods by which EPC data from RFID or other sensor technology can be captured, processed, formatted, and shared. It was designed to be comprehensive enough to offer a powerful data-sharing foundation, while flexible enough to allow the augmenting of industry-specific enhancements. Indeed, it can accommodate applications as varied as container tracking, product authentication, pharmaceutical track-and-trace, promotions management, baggage tracking, electronic proof of delivery, chain of custody, and returns management.

In the official announcement, EPCglobal president Chris Adcock stated that EPCIS could ultimately prove more significant than even Gen2, the data standard underpinning all recent EPC deployments. "In terms of industry significance, I believe that the EPCIS standard may have much more of a transformational impact on the industry than the [2004] release of the UHF Gen2 passive RFID standard," he said.

EPCIS is so impactful because it will allow trading partners to seamlessly and securely share real-time supply chain data with each other. It is in this data sharing that the true potential of RFID-enabled supply chain visibility lies. Rather than such data being isolated or "siloed" within each organization's own repository, it can now be accessed and exchanged according to secure and trusted supplier-customer relationships. "[EPC RFID's] true potential will be realized when enterprises begin to share data about products using the EPCIS standard to improve efficiencies in a controlled setting throughout the supply chain."

Development of the standard started getting quite a bit of attention toward the end of last year as interoperability tests were conducted, vendor support emerged, and real-world deployments were rolled out. BEA announced EPCIS support in the 2.0 release of its RFID enterprise software offering (see BEA Releases 2.0 of RFID Enterprise Software), and shortly thereafter IBM announced that its WebSphere RFID Information Center middleware product was built on the EPCIS specification (see IBM's New RFID Software Supports EPCIS). In October, EPCglobal together with vendors and government organizations launched an EPCIS-based container-tracking pilot for goods shipped between Japan and Hong Kong (see EPCglobal Launches Major RFID Pilot in Asia), a pilot which ABI Research just today cited as a key demonstration of EPCIS's potential to enable cross-border data sharing.

The standard is a product of the EPCIS working group within EPCglobal. More than 150 companies and organizations participated in its development.

Read the official announcement from EPCglobal
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