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EPCglobal Readies EPCIS Certification Program

The organization's Software Action Group has already submitted conformance requirements for EPCIS products. The program is expected to go live in mid-July.
By Beth Bacheldor
Tags: Standards
Apr 19, 2007Now that the Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) is a bona fide industry standard, EPCglobal is readying a certification program to validate EPCIS products. The program is expected to be available sometime in mid-July.

The certification program will be run by MET Laboratories in Baltimore, and open to companies wishing to test their products' compliance with the specification, which EPCglobal's board ratified on April 16 (see EPCglobal Ratifies EPCIS Standard). A number of companies plan to put their software through the certification process once it's available, including GlobeRanger, IBM and SAP.

EPCIS serves as a communications mechanism between applications and data repositories, enabling companies to effectively exchange and query data within their own RFID processes, and with those of its partners. In addition, the protocol automates the exchange of RFID data, because it allows for machine-to-machine communications, providing a standard structure for defining EPC events so the machines understand each other while exchanging the data. Without the standard, companies would have to develop their own mechanisms for exchanging and querying data with each individual trading partner, and EPC data objects might be described in different, potentially incompatible, ways.

EPCglobal's Software Action Group, under which the EPCIS working group falls, has already submitted conformance requirements to MET Laboratories for the certification program, says Craig Asher, cochair of the action group and chief architect with IBM's software group. Asher says third-party labs are typically used for standards-certification programs to prevent any single party from having undue influence over the process.

According to Ted Osinski, MET Laboratories' director of RFID programs, the lab is developing a set of test cases that will be used to check a product's conformance to the standard. MET plans to submit beta test cases to the Software Action Group for review and validation by the last week of June. Once the reviews are complete and the test cases are cleared, he says, the certification process will begin, likely sometime in mid-July.

The certification process, Asher notes, will check to see if the standard's two fundamental interfaces—capture and query—perform as expected. "One of the issues to obtain certification is the software will have to capture EPC standard events correctly," he explains. "Another would be that [the software] correctly responds to queries that are enabled in the query interface."

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