Where Can I Learn About Physical Markup Language?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsWhere Can I Learn About Physical Markup Language?
RFID Journal Staff asked 11 years ago

I recently came across an old MIT Web site about Physical Markup Language (PML) that has missing sections and apparently has not been updated since 2002. I searched the Web for other sources of information about this subject, but there seems to be very little out there. Your site has one small FAQ article about it, but I don't know how old it is. Can you tell me (or point me to sources who might know) what the current status of PML is, and which organizations or entities are actively working on or promoting it?

—Ezra (Kirkland, Wash.)



The short answer is that no one is working on PML since it's not in use.

PML was abandoned as the Electronic Product Code (EPC) concept was transferred from MIT's Auto-ID Center to GS1 for commercialization purposes. I'm unsure exactly why, but I think businesspeople found it unworkable for their needs. Instead, they developed a set of software tags that enable other systems to know the product type, the business process during which a tag was read, the location of the tag read and other information that would be valuable to a business.

These tags are incorporated in GS1's Electronic Product Code Information Service (EPCIS), and the codes differ from one industry to the next. The chemical sector, for instance, might require codes to indicate whether chemicals are toxic or flammable, whereas this might not be necessary in, say, the toy industry.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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