Loss of a Great Man – Alan Haberman

Alan Haberman's first claim to fame should be that he was instrumental in bringing bar code scanning to our lives. Although he did not invent bar codes, he lead the charge to get the U.P.C. symbol accepted by everyone and was part of the movement that has made bar code scanning in retail a part of our everyday life. Alan was president of Hills-Korvette Supermarkets and then the CEO of First National Supermarkets and in the early 1970s he became the chairman of an executive committee in the Uniform Code Council (now GS1) to select a standard symbol. The committee reviewed more than a dozen symbols and eventually chose what we recognize today. The first time the bar code was used in areal system was on June 26, 1974 when a pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit was purchased and scanned at Marsh Supermarket in Troy OH. That package is currently in the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History.

Alan was a founder member of the UCC and he became a member of the Board of Governors. His work did not stop with bar codes and he was one of the first people to recognize the importance of RFID. He led an investigation for a University to help solve some of the problems with RFID. He setup an alliance with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and funded the Auto-ID Labs to investigate the creation of a system for retail use of RFID. This later became EPCglobal and the Electronic Product Code (EPC) system was created.Alan in Edinburgh

In 1996 talks were started with an intent to create a home in ISO for AIDC standards. The Uniform Code Council was chosen to be the Secretariat for this international work and Alan was chosen to be the first chairman of the committee. He retained that position for the next nine years, leading the standardization efforts with a force that everyone rallied around. He was well respected in the position and even when some health issues put him on the sidelines for a while, he continued to drive everyone forward from his home office.

I first met Alan Haberman when he was chosen to be the first chairman of ISO/IEC SC 31. He became a great friend and a mentor to me and several others. His straightforward way of doing business didn't always make him the most popular guy in town, but his knowledge and management skills always won through. Alan's interest in the technologies did not stop when he passed on the chairmanship of the committee. He continued to call many of us with questions and ideas. He even acted as a confidant for many of us as we tried to resolve issues.

Alan passed away on Sunday (12 June, 2011) at age 81, he will be missed by many of us. Rest in Peace, Alan.


Standards Update – 3 – February 2011

This month there are a series of ISO RFID standards meetings taking place in Sarasota, FL USA.  The third meeting was SC 31/WG 4/SG 3.  This committee is responsible for RFID air interface standards –  ISO/IEC 18000 series standards.

All of the parts of ISO/IEC 18000 have been published, but work items are currently open to revise parts 6 and 7.

ISO/IEC 18000-6 is the air interface standard for 860 – 960 MHz UHF RFID. This standard was revised and published in 2010 with the addition of a Type D and support for sensors and battery assist. The addition of these options to the standard meant that the document had grown to almost 500 pages.  A new work item to break this standard into smaller parts was approved at the end of 2010 and the committee met, for the first time since that approval, to review the work that has been done.

The standard has been broken into five parts:

  • Part 6: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz General
  • Part 61: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz Type A
  • Part 62: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz Type B
  • Part 63: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz Type C
  • Part 64: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz Type D

Each of these parts was approved to move to the first stage of balloting – CD ballot. For more details of how the ISO process works see: http://www.understandrfidstandards.com/how-does-iso-work/

ISO/IEC 18000-7 Parameters for active air interface communications at 433 MHz was last published in 2010. This standard has been opened to revise the technology to include multi-channel utilization and more efficient communication techniques needed to address increased market and application needs for higher and more secure data transmissions. This revision will also specify the sensor interface and a universal mechanism to allow for other services to be enabled on the tag.

Steve Halliday
Feb 18, 2011



A Trade Show and an Award

There has been a slight pause in me adding content this last week as I was at a trade show/conference for our industry. The AIM Expo in Chicago was a great event and there was a chance to talk to many people in our industry as well as give a presentation on Standards.

At the AIM Dinner, I was presented with the Richard R. Dilling Award. The press release is here.