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Auto Industry RFID Data Standard Proposed

EPCglobal and AIAG have proposed an RFID tag data structure allowing tire manufacturers to use both Electronic Product Code and existing data identifiers.
By Mark Roberti
Pat King, global electronics strategist at Michelin, says the solution is something of a breakthrough because it bridges the gap between ISO and EPC, creating a solution that could satisfy all of the tire companies' customers. "EPCglobal hasn't figured out exactly how the additional memory [called for in the Gen 2 protocol] will be used," King says. "This is a breakthrough because it gives some definition to the extra memory, and the solution is specific to a vertical industry."

There are still issues that will need to be worked out, according to Mike Guillory, director of industry relations and standardization at Philips Semiconductors. Guillory has been closely involved with the creation of ISO RFID standards. "Even if you assume that this proposal is adopted as a framework, there are issues around how to represent the data on the tag, and how the data will be used by [companies in the auto industry] that are not EPCglobal members."

AIAG plans to have another meeting on Jan. 25 to discuss the proposal further. Brown says the organization has shared the proposal with some groups not at the meeting, including those involved in the ISO standards development process, and with such overseas auto industry organizations as Odette International in Europe, the Japan Automotive Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association (JAPIA).

It's important for any RFID tag data standard adopted by the auto industry to have the support of overseas groups, because without a single global standard, companies will be required to put more than one tag on tires shipped around the world, or to maintain separate inventories of tires with tags used in North America, Europe or Asia.

Brown says there are differences among tire manufacturers about whether UHF or high-frequency tags are best, but all understand the importance of reaching an agreement that will pave the way for one tag to be used on tires, regardless of region of the world or customer it is shipped to. "We have a lot of momentum behind [the push for a single tag data structure]," Brown says. "It will be solved and probably fairly quickly, perhaps by June."

This process demonstrates to the EPCglobal community that EPC technology has significance for a range of industries, according to Hutchinson. "Any time an industry looks to EPCglobal to help harmonize their standards, it brings us one step closer to our goal of a more efficient way to do business around the world," she says. "This latest proposal shows that EPC is relevant to all industries, in that the AIAG is considering how it can use EPC technology to meet its needs for tires and wheels. We have seen this take shape already in CPG, healthcare and life sciences, transportation and logistics, and we expect other industries to follow."

USER COMMENTS

Ali Kalantari 2005-12-20 06:10:20 AM
Auto B11 The DoD has been using DI's for quite a while. The DoD does accept DIs but the article mistates how we will do business within our Supply Chain. Initially, to track items we will require the EPCglobal data construct which will also be used by retailers as well. In the future, the DoD will use the ISO DI's for additional info in the maintenance cycle as we may be able to leverage additional info from the tags. We will continue to use the EPCglobal data constructs so that we do not have 2 or more solutions in the tire industry.

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