RFID Standards

How important are the standards in RFID to you? This web site keeps you updated on the major changes that are taking place in RFID Standards but is that enough?

If you are involved in RFID then the standards world should be a major part of your focus. The ability to create products that don't just follow the standard but actually lead the standards is a major competitive advantage. This is why you see so many companies either actively participating or subscribing to standards reports that keep them updated on the work of the committee.

There are many ways to get involved in standards. In most countries there are groups working on RFID Standards. In the United States the mirror organization to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31 is the U.S. TAG (Technical Advisory Group) to SC 31 called ADC1.  The TAG is managed by AIM Inc. (http://www.aimglobal.org), and you can get more info on the group by emailing adc1@aimglobal.org for a membership form. Membership gives you the right to participate in all of the work of SC 31. For details of the RFID work see http://www.understandrfidstandards.com/isoiec-jtc-1sc-31/

If you do not want to actively participate in the work, but need to know what is happening, you can take advantage of the reports that are available. High Tech Aid participates in many of the RFID Standards committee.  Steve Halliday Is the convener of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31/WG 4/SG 3 (RFID Air Interface Standards) and is the co-chair of the GS 1 EPCglobal Technical Standards Committee and the Hardware Group. High Tech Aid published monthly reports on the activities of this group and others, and you can subscribe by sending an email to steve@hightechaid.com and asking for more information.

The Internet of Things

So what do you think the Internet of Things is? Does your understanding label it as a bottle of milk talking to your refrigerator? It's a lot more than that, and that is why companies like IBM, Cisco, and GE are involved in a very big way.

Some people call it M2M (Machine to Machine), others are talking about the Ubiquitous Sensor Network. They are all variations of the same thing and standards will play a big part in the creation of the Internet of Things.

I have just returned from Wuxi, China, the cente rof the work being done on the Internet of Things in China. Wuxi New District is a planned community with many companies and organizations already have office space in this area. We visited with several of the companies and saw examples of the work they are doing from Cloud Storage to sensing traffic, to monitoring pollution, to tracking power management. We saw examples of new technology face tracking and identification alongside location technology accurate to 15mm.

The next day we attended a Europe-China conference on the Internet of Things and heard speakers from both China and Europe detail the work they are doing in this arena.

Finally I attended several days of meetings of the CASAGRAS2 project (http://www.iot-casagras.org/) to discuss projects around the world related to the Internet of Things. I learned that a highly successful academic conference had been held in Wuxi a few days before I arrived. That another academic conference and an educational conference will be held this week in Kuala Lumpur. They have over 300 people signed up for these sessions.

The same group of people will be presenting an educational session at the RFID Journal Live pre-conference in April (http://www.rfidjournalevents.com/live/internet.php). Another group of sessions are being finalized in the South American region in early September, and discussions have started for an event in September in the USA.

What does this have to do with RFID Standards?

RFID is without doubt, a key enabler for the Internet of Things. Standards for the air interface, the data protocols, the security, the communications are all a key part of the system. Many of these will already exist, others will need to be written. Many still need to be identified.

Some of the organizations that will be involved include ISO/IEC JTC 1, AIM, as well as several National Standards organizations. If this is something that is important to you, then you need to get involved now. AIM has an initiative for its members (email: iot@aimglobal.org). Contact your National Body to learn more about the work in ISO/IEC.

Steve Halliday
Feb 27, 2011

Standards Update – 4 – February 2011

This month there are a series of ISO RFID standards meetings taking place in Sarasota, FL USA.  The fourth meeting was SC 31/WG 4/SG 1.  This committee is responsible for RFID Data Protocol standards .

This committee has several standards in ballot at this time (ISO/IEC 15961-1, 15962, 24753) and several Comment Resolution Meetings announced for standards that have completed their latest ballot (ISO/IEC 24791-3 and -5).  For more details of how the ISO process works see: http://www.understandrfidstandards.com/how-does-iso-work/

The committee heard several presentations and looked at several areas of work including:

File Management:  As assistance to the work in WG 7 on ISO/IEC 29167, this group has spent considerable time looking at the best way to implement file management in an RFID tag.

Library Systems: The use of RFID in libraries has increased dramatically and ISO 28560 sets a standard for this application. This standard refers to the standards of WG 4/SG 1 and has helped to identify where improvements can be made to the ISO/IEC 15961/2 standards can be made.

ISO/IEC 24791-4: “Software System Infrastructure: Part 4 Application Interface”. This standard was withdrawn some time back, but a demonstration by the Korean National Body of an approach to solve the problems may result in a new work item proposal being submitted.

Steve Halliday
Feb 18, 2011

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



Standards Update – 2 – February 2011

This month there are a series of ISO RFID standards meetings taking place in Sarasota, FL USA.  The second meeting was SC 31/WG 7.  This committee is responsible for security and file management of the ISO/IEC 18000 series standards. The standard is ISO/IEC 29167 and it is still in the early stages of development.

The meeting was well attended with 25 people from 13 National Bodies and Liaison organizations.

Part 1 of this standard is the overall architecture and this document is already in ballot at the CD stage (see http://www.understandrfidstandards.com/how-does-iso-work/ for details of the process).

The standard is broken into several parts – the first is the general information, but the remainder define the specific methods to implement security and file management in the specific frequency dependent parts of ISO/IEC 18000.  The first part of the work is on a method to implement in ISO/IEC 18000-6.

The work of this group on the UHF specific implementations is being kept in step with the work of GS1 EPCGlobal. This has slowed the work a little, but the progress has been good.

The two parts to the work are File Management and Security. For File Management, the goal is to produce a method to provide a standardized way of accessing user memory on a tag that conforms to ISO/IEC 18000-6. The concept can be thought of as similar to a hard drive on a PC where we have a file management scheme that we call folders. The committee is addressing how this can be achieved on a tag.

The second part of the work is on Security. The committee is creating a means to implement encryption based security on a tag. This security option will be presented in a standard fashion with a collection of optional security suites (such as AES, Triple DES etc.). The tag and reader will negotiate a common security method and then communicate through this encryption.

This work will allow for the authentication of tags and readers thus enabling many new applications for RFID. The ability to hide data in an encrypted form gives a RFID the ability to satisfy the needs of the users to effect a scheme that will enable privacy of data.

Steve Halliday
Feb 18, 2011


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