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2011 RFID Journal Award Winner: Special Achievement—Setting the RFID Standard

Chris Diorio brought together people and technologies to create the global ultrahigh-frequency specification.
By Mark Roberti
Jun 01, 2011—Chris Diorio is a well-respected professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. He also is a co-founder of Impinj, one of the most successful startups in the radio frequency identification industry (in April, the company announced plans to go public). But he's being honored for a third aspect of his dynamic career—standards creator.

Diorio served as co-chair of the MIT Auto-ID Center's Hardware Action Group from 2002 to 2003. He took on the same role for EPCglobal when it licensed the Electronic Product Code intellectual property from MIT, and also served as project editor on the writing of the specification for the EPCglobal second-generation air-interface protocol and the ISO 18000-6C air-interface protocol, which was ratified by the International Organization for Standardization as a global standard.

"It was a heady time," Diorio recalls. "There was a lot of excitement about RFID, and there was a lot at stake. A new UHF standard would marginalize some existing standards and products, but we knew we needed a worldwide standard."

Creating standards is often described as sausage making—something you don't necessarily want to witness. Competing interests and a lot of jockeying for position intensified the RFID standards work, but Diorio brought a calmness, seriousness and intellectual rigor that enabled some 40 companies to agree on a single specification.
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