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International RFID Institute Prepares Certification Program

The nonprofit group intends to develop tests focused on the fundamental information necessary for all RFID professionals, while also supporting education and research for members of the industry.
By Claire Swedberg

The group aims to begin introduction and training sessions for its initial SME members later this month. It plans to review the current blueprint and roadmap, and to then develop and submit initial questions regarding various RFID technology and use-case topics. The first public organization meeting are slated to take place at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference, to be held in Orlando from Apr. 30 to May 2. The institute hopes to be ready with certification exams by the third quarter of this year.

However, Bent notes, the group's goal is to do more than develop and provide tests for certification— it also intends to support education for interested solution providers and end users, as well as sponsor and support research into the application of RFID solutions for specific use cases. This support could include seeking grants and bringing together researchers across various academic institutions to conduct research or sponsor their own research, depending on the available funding. The institute might, for example, collaborate with RFID technology providers to develop certification programs specific to RFID vendors looking to install, resell or enhance their products or solutions. The institute could provide its foundation certification as part of its roadmap, in such a way that integrates with the certification and training provided by a vendor that its integrators or distributors might take as part of that vendor's curriculum. Another example would be to provide a certification program for the employees of an RFID end-user organization, in order to develop competencies that those individuals need in order to adopt or maintain an RFID system for that organization.

With regard to applied research, Bent says, "We think we can collaborate with universities or agencies to focus on issues that drive successful adoption." This, he adds, could include everything from technology issues to privacy or security issues, or developing best practices to enhance the ways in which RFID can benefit everyone. The RFID Institute will also seek to work with standards bodies, such as AIM Global, GS1, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and IEEE directly, as well as by encouraging individuals who have relationships with those bodies to become members, in order to ensure a sharing of expertise between the groups. "We're just getting started," he states, "but already, some of our founders have multiple connections" with these and other nonprofit organizations.

In addition to Bent, Dua and Roberti, the institute's founding members are Aneline Brown, a systems engineer at Motorola Solutions' Psion division; Diane Hage, RFID Global Solution's CEO; Josef Preishuber-Pflugl, CISC Semiconductor's CTO; Mark Brown, Ammet Solutions' CEO; Ernesto Castagnet, Ingenieria en Sistemas SRL's CEO; Anthony Palermo, RFID Academia's CEO; and Robert Sabella, OTA Training's CEO.

The standard individual professional membership is priced at $199 for the first year and $149 for subsequent years. Membership for academic, government or non-profit professionals will cost $149 for the first year and $99 per year thereafter, while students will pay $49 annually. These fees are being discounted by 25 percent on the institute's Web site for the first 100 members who sign up, and include a voucher for the foundation certification exam.

"I think the institute will do two things," Bent says. "It will broaden the base of people who have a great foundation of knowledge in RFID, and enable professionals to help their organizations grow [by providing the kind of knowledge that will make it easier to ensure a reliable, working RFID solution]. At the end of the day, that helps the general public."

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