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A Conversation With Sanjay Sarma

The cofounder of the Auto-ID Center, recently elected chairman of EPCglobal's board of governors, spoke with RFID Journal's editor, Mark Roberti.
Mar 14, 2012EPCglobal was established in late 2003 to commercialize the Electronic Product Code (EPC) technology and standards. The first chairman of the organization's board of governors was Dick Cantwell, who oversaw RFID efforts at Gillette and Procter & Gamble, and who is now the VP and global head of Cisco Systems' Retail, CPG, Transportation, Hospitality, Internet Business Solutions Group. After eight years of thoughtful leadership, Cantwell recently decided to step down, and Sanjay Sarma, the cofounder of EPCglobal's precursor, the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)—and the man whom many have called the father of the EPC—was elected as EPCglobal's new chairman. Mike Rose, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems' VP of supply chain visibility, was elected vice-chairman (see RFID News Roundup: Sanjay Sarma, Mike Rose Elected to Lead EPCglobal Board).

RFID Journal's editor, Mark Roberti, spoke to Sarma shortly after his election.

Sanjay Sarma
Roberti: EPCglobal has been going through some structural changes, and is now being integrated more closely with GS1 than in the past. Can you talk about why?

Sarma: EPCglobal still exists as a legal entity, and it, in fact, has a new president, Paul Voordeckers. But its management is being integrated more closely with GS1 to take advantage of synergies across the two organizations. For example, EPCglobal standards development is being harmonized with GS1 standards practices, and as GS1 provides advice to its members on the use of auto-ID technologies, it can discuss the benefits of both bar codes and RFID.

EPCglobal is still developing standards. Nothing's changed in that respect. EPC standards remain at the heart of what we do, but we are grappling with other technologies. The board wants the organization to look at how EPC fits into the broader context of other technology trends, such as cloud computing. The focus is on bringing all of these technologies together to create visibility.

Roberti: EPCglobal has created high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) air-interface standards. The organization has created the standards for readers to interface with software, and for computers to share EPC data. Are there any new standards on the horizon?

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