The need for standards has become apparent to almost everyone. As one of the major barcode suppliers put it “…without standards for the various symbologies, we would be nowhere. The existence of multiple variations of a symbology would make our job (manufacturing equipment) near impossible, without even thinking about the problems the end user would have. Imagine if your credit card only worked in a 25% of the POS terminals you used.” The explosive growth of barcode technology over the past ten years is due in part to the willingness of the various inventors of symbologies to put their inventions in the public domain and allow for open standards.
This article covers a hot topic – Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). This technology has been around for a while, but it is only in the last few years that it has started to build momentum and many people are talking about standards in the industry.
The technology involves the use of a tag or transponder and a reader to communicate information from a single bit to several kilo-bytes over a wireless link. The name RFID is actually a slight misnomer as there are many frequencies in use for this technology from around 100 kHz to nearly 6 GHz, a frequency range from just above the audio range into the microwave range. However, all the systems have one thing in common, they communicate over the airwaves.
To start you thinking about RFID, visit High Tech Aid. Under the standards link you will find lots of information about standards in Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). Many of the topics shown there will be covered in greater detail here in the coming posts. You can also get a lot of information about RFID as a technology (as well as other technologies). You can even sign up for a free newsletter, published every month with news about the AIDC world.
You may also like to visit a useful resource on the world wide web, http://www.rfid.org. Sponsored by AIM, as part of the global initiative on RFID, this web site is devoted entirely to RFID and contains some great information for you to use and enjoy including:
• A Primer on the technology will get you up-to-speed fast, helping you understand the differences between the various variations in the technology.
• A Glossary of terms will help you get a grasp on the terminology
• White papers and case studies
AIM took an early lead in RFID with initiatives in Europe, Japan, and USA with participation from all aspects of the technology. Other organizations and standards bodies (like ISO/IEC JTC1, CEN, GS1, UPU, MHI, ETSI, ITRU, SCMLC/ICAC, CEPT, AIAG, VICS, CIDEX, IEEE, ASTN to name a few) are also working towards standardization of RFID in different areas and I will cover this work in the future.