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Special Achievement Award: Ken Traub

RFID Journal honors the man who helped to develop many of GS1's software standards. Ken tragically passed away on Apr. 2.
By Mark Roberti
Apr 04, 2017

Each year since 2009, RFID Journal has been giving out a Special Achievement Award to an individual who has contributed greatly to the RFID industry, either through the development of new standards, research into the technology's benefits or leadership in deploying radio frequency identification solutions. This year, the editors of RFID Journal decided to give the award to Ken Traub, who ran his own consulting firm but also contributed greatly to the development of GS1's software standards for sharing and using RFID data.

The last thing I did before finalizing Ken as the winner this year was to contact GS1 to confirm that Ken had actually contributed as much as I believed he had. When I reached out to GS1, I learned that yes, he had done all I had thought and more—but I also learned that on Apr. 2, he died while on vacation with his family. A memorial ceremony will be held in Lexington, Mass., on Apr. 5.

I cannot tell you how saddened I am by this news. Ken contributed selflessly to the RFID industry. He was the lead editor of the GS1 System Architecture, the EPC Tag Data Standard, the EPC Information Services (EPCIS) standard, the Core Business Vocabulary standard and the Bar Code / RFID Interoperability guideline. He was also the working group co-chair and editor of the Application Level Events (ALE) standard, and he contributed to the development of four other software standards efforts: ONS, Reader Protocol, Discovery Services and B2C Trusted Source of Data.

Ken was a successful entrepreneur. He was a founder and CTO of ConnecTerra Inc., an early pioneer in RFID software that was acquired by BEA in 2005 (see BEA Systems Acquires ConnecTerra). He also helped to launch two other successful startups.

Ken Traub
Despite his success and his brilliance—he was one of the smartest people I ever met—Ken was always very down to earth. He was unfailingly friendly and generous with his time. I regularly emailed him with questions submitted to our Ask the Experts forum, and Ken would provide thoughtful, helpful answers—and even when I went back to him a few times for clarification, he never lost patience with me.

Ken has often spoken at our events and has been an evangelist for RFID technology. It always seemed to me that he put educating users of the technology and promoting its benefits above his personal gain. For years, in fact, he was a contributor to our digital magazine, and his articles never failed to be informative and interesting.

Ken has contributed a great deal to our industry. I know I speak for many when I say he is irreplaceable and will be greatly missed.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.

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Ian Robertson 2017-04-04 07:57:31 PM
I'm incredibly saddened by Ken's passing. I won't repeat what Mark has said but just wanted to add that Ken's knowledge went far beyond RFID and deep into the realms of computing and design too. We have lost a true master. :-( Ian Robertson.
Mark Brown 2017-04-06 11:42:51 AM
I didn't want to believe it, I still dont.... It is hard to imagine where this industry would be without Ken. Please friends, don't let another day go by, don't wait for another one to follow the path into the abyss. We have precious little time here, enjoy it, and make sure that the people making a difference in your life KNOW IT.

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