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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
One goal is to create a database of RFID standards, so that bodies around the world could see which standards already exist, and either adopt them or ensure that anything they create interoperates with international RFID standards. So, for instance, those creating an emblem could check the database and see that an emblem standard already existed.

"The goal is to create a neutral, voluntary body that will issue resolutions or suggestions that will be taken on board—or not—by the participating standards bodies," Barthel told the gathering. "Standards are being created in many areas, so we need to prioritize which areas to focus on."

While there seemed to be general agreement at the meeting that there needs to be better communication and coordination among RFID standards bodies, attendees were divided regarding whether GRIFS was necessary. Some felt it was; there is clearly a great deal of overlap, and a growing number of industry bodies, including Odette International, the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), the Air Transport Association (ATA) and so forth, are developing standards for using RFID within their sector.

A representative from ITU-T felt there is already a committee within the ITU that is charged with coordinating RFID standards. Others pointed out that Steve Halliday, president of High Tech Aid, produces a monthly newsletter that includes updates on global RFID standards efforts. And Q.E.D. Systems, an organization that provides standards development, educational, advisory and systems design services, maintains an extensive database of RFID standards at autoid.org.

After the public meeting, the leading standards bodies were invited to a closed-door gathering to discuss a proposed memorandum of understanding that would establish GRIFS as an ongoing forum for coordination. If these bodies don't agree to participate on a voluntary basis, the GRIFS effort will likely not continue. It might be several weeks before the potential participants could agree on and sign an MOU.

EU funding runs out at the end of this year, so if the bodies fail to agree to participate on a voluntary basis, the GRIFS effort will likely cease. If they do agree, however, the individual bodies will fund their members' participation in GRIFS. Barthel was optimistic that they would support GRIFS.

"The number of attendees, the questions raised and the discussion [at the public event in Washington] demonstrated the high interest for what we are trying to achieve with this project," Barthel said. "There are some challenges ahead, but I feel confident that we will succeed in setting up a global coordination forum on RFID standardization that will bring a genuine added value to the standard bodies—and, more importantly, to the users."

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