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EU Group Seeks Collaboration Among RFID Standards Bodies

The Global RFID Interoperability Forum for Standards met in Washington, D.C., to establish a permanent body to foster communication and collaboration among RFID standards bodies.
By Mark Roberti
Tags: Standards
Jul 03, 2009The Global RFID Interoperability Forum for Standards (GRIFS), on June 30, held a gathering of representatives from a variety of standards-making organizations from around the world at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in Washington, D.C.. The aim was to present GRIFS' goals, and to share the first version of a possible memorandum of understanding (MOU) that could lead to making the forum a permanent body to foster communication and collaboration among the many bodies worldwide that establish standards for radio frequency identification technology.

GRIFS is funded by the European Commission, with the aim of maximizing the interoperability of RFID standards. Since GRIFS was launched in January 2008, it has been conducting meetings with representatives of standards bodies around the world (see GS1, ETSI, CEN Establish Global RFID Standards Forum and GRIFS Issues Interim Report).

GRIFS has prepared a 217-page report, entitled "RFID Standardization State of the Art," which identifies the organizations currently creating RFID standards. These include the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the IEEE, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU-T), the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

GS1's Henri Barthel
The report also summarizes the types of standards being created. GRIFS' researchers have identified 125 RFID standards that have been created thus far. These include standards for air interface protocols, as well as others for tag data, and for ensuring standard conformance.

GS1 has been coordinating the GRIFS effort, along with CEN and ETSI. Most of the above groups were represented at the meeting in Washington, along with EPCglobal, AIM Global, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and others.

Henri Barthel, director of global partnerships and projects at GS1's global office in Brussels, and the GRIFS project coordinator, spelled out the project's goals. There is not a lot of consistency in RFID standards development, he said, and GRIFS would be a voluntary coordination effort to address the issue.

One example cited during the meeting was the work being done to create an RFID emblem that can be used globally to indicate that a particular product, or its packaging, contains an RFID tag. EPCglobal created an Electronic Product Code (EPC) emblem, then AIM Global created a broader RFID emblem of its own that includes EPC and other types of RFID tags, and now work is being done in Europe on yet another emblem.

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