Leading manufacturers and technology providers of data collection and radio frequency identification (RFID) have submitted an RFID protocol definition that would pave the way for rapid adoption of a standard new worldwide RFID standard known as Electronic Product Code (EPC), Ultra-high Frequency (UHF) Generation 2. Companies supporting the protocol include Texas Instruments, Intermec Technologies Corp., Philips Semiconductors, SAMsys Technologies Corp., Zebra Technologies Corp., Impinj Inc., Rafsec and others.

The proposed RFID definition currently is in development by EPCglobal Inc., an arm of UCC.EAN charged with establishing the EPC system. The proposed definition meets user requirements outlined by the world’s leading retailers and others, including the US Department of Defense. It fully meets user requirements, works worldwide, meets international standards and provides a path to low cost RFID tags and readers. Together these companies represent multiple sources of every aspect of a fully implemented RFID system — chips, tags and readers — as well as manufacturers of bar code and 2-D symbology equipment, wireless networks, mobile computers and terminals, software companies and RFID system manufacturers and integrators. “We recognize that end users are seeking rapid ratification of a common global standard for implementing UHF RFID for their businesses,” said Tony Sabetti, global business manager for Texas Instruments RFid Systems. “As a unified group of the leading RFID companies all supporting the proposed EPC UHF Generation 2 RFID Standard, we are working together to encourage the rapid adoption of a standard in the EPCglobal process.”

RFID is a complement to the industry’s current bar code-based tracking systems, allowing companies to automatically track inventory throughout an entire supply chain. RFID automatic data collection typically does not require line of sight or manual scanning, as do most bar code-based systems. For example, information from RFID-tagged cases on a pallet can be read automatically using fixed, mobile or handheld readers rather than requiring individual bar code scanning. EPC UHF Generation 2 RFID technology adds the capability to change and update the information on each tag as it proceeds through various points in the supply chain, providing new levels of up-to-date information for better decision making.

EPCglobal Inc., a joint venture of the standards bodies EAN International and the Uniform Code Council, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing and overseeing standards for the newly emerged Electronic Product Code. As part of that work, EPCglobal Inc. participants are leading the development of standards for the use of RFID technology in a number of industries, including retail supply chain.