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Dash7 Alliance Working on New Specification, Tags for ISO 18000-7

The group has introduced a new specification, known as Mode 2, for ISO approval, that would allow the integration of 433 MHz active and 13.56 MHz passive RFID on a single tag. It would also enable tag-to-tag transmission, and make possible a range of new applications.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 30, 2010With the release of a new specification for the ISO 18000-7 standard for active 433 MHz RFID tags and readers, technology providers may be able to build a 433 MHz solution onto an existing passive 13.56 MHz tag, design a system in which ISO 18000-7-compliant active tags transmit to each other, and program such tags to send sensor data automatically if they detect an event, such as passing an acceptable temperature threshold.

The new specification, known as Mode 2, was developed during the past 12 months by the Dash7 Alliance, a nonprofit consortium formed to advance the use of RFID technology compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard. The organization submitted the Mode 2 specification to the ISO 18000-7 standards committee for its approval earlier this month, and pending that approval, some alliance members—technology vendors—are currently working to build the new RFID systems for a variety of applications. In addition to enabling tag-to-tag communications and sensor event triggers, as well as hybrid active/passive solutions, the Mode 2-compliant tags would provide over-the-air configuration, and higher data rates than technology built under the original ISO 18000-7 specification—now referred to as Mode 1—while also using less power.

Leon Vandenberg, Rights Commerce's CEO
"End users gave us pretty clear direction as to what they needed—security and privacy, as well as location granularity," says Patrick Burns, the Dash7 Alliance's founder and president, adding that end-user support for Mode 2 "is pretty overwhelming when we talk to people."

According to Burns, Alliance members hope that review and any comment and ratification by the ISO 18000-7 standards committee will be completed by the end of 2011.

"The alliance today has nearly 60 participants from 23 countries, nearly all of whom are participating in their national standards body that votes in ISO [the International Organization for Standardization]," Burns says, "so we expect the ISO process to move more swiftly than if, say, a single company or country were submitting a new work item to ISO on its own, since the alliance votes as a bloc within ISO. Many of the same organizations who would otherwise vote independently in ISO are members of the Dash7 Alliance, so the specification we submitted is pre-vetted by ISO members, unlike most work items submitted to ISO. Our goal with the Dash7 Alliance is to make the ISO process work better—not to replace it—and Mode 2 is a good example of this."

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