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GS1 Ratifies EPC Gen2v2, Adds Security Features, More Memory

The new version of the EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID standard provides such features as security, anti-counterfeiting cryptography, EAS functionality and privacy settings for consumers.
By Claire Swedberg

A tag built into a product can come with a "non-removable" indicator bit signifying that the tag should not be detached from an item since removal could compromise that product's intended functionality. That same function would enable a tag sewn into a garment (or integrated into a product in some other non-removable manner) to identify itself as such. Readers at the point of sale would then know to treat that tag differently—for example, setting the untraceable command.

The standard, Diorio says, is the result of exhaustive efforts by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and EPCglobal, as well as numerous vendors, system integrators and retail stakeholders. To develop the standard's cryptographic capabilities, Diorio explains, EPCglobal developed the commands and data formatting, while ISO created the cryptographic suites to be used by tags. "This has been a very large community effort," he states.

Impinj's Chris Diorio

EPCglobal first demonstrated a prototype of the new standard in April 2013. Now that the Gen 2 standard has been revised, ISO workgroups are currently reviewing it, and V2 is expected to be incorporated into the ISO 18000-63 standard next year. GS1's EPC Tag Data Standard (TDS) will also be updated to support Gen2v2.

Vendors may be expected to release new Gen2v2-compatible products during the next 18 months, Diorio predicts. Few products will accommodate all of the features available with Gen2v2, he adds, but rather will provide products with specific features for individual markets. A tag for the retail market, for example, may include security and anti-counterfeiting features, while the aerospace and defense sectors would employ tags with the partitioned memory capacity.

All enhancements to the new standard are optional and backwards-compatible, Repec reports. The new Gen2v2 tags will operate with existing readers complying with Gen 2 version 1.2.0. However, existing readers would require firmware upgrades to support the new features. "This doesn't endanger the longer-term investment of existing implementations," he adds.

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