Three factors will conspire to put progress in RFID implementation on ice for the immediate future, according to ABI Research. Erik Michielsen, director of RFID and Ubiquitous Wireless at the technology analyst firm, says that “by themselves, none of the three situations is a deal-breaker, but their cumulative effect will be to chill progress in the field for several months or more.” The first is the conflict around Intermec’s intellectual property claims to parts of the EPCglobal Generation 2 specification. EPCglobal, the non-profit organization charged with commercializing Electronic Product Code (EPC) technology, has yet to release its findings on the Intermec IP claims which, as ABI Research previously pointed out, remain a stumbling block to faster RFID industry development. If the EPC Gen 2 standard dismisses the Intermec claims as irrelevant, a legal battle is still likely to ensue. If the IP is deemed relevant, licensing issues will delay RFID production ramp-ups. The second difference of opinion is between EPCglobal and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), around the part of the proposed specification dealing with the numbering systems RFID tags relates to. EPCglobal is hoping to set the issue aside to be dealt with separately, in order to speed approval of the rest of the standard. Finally there is the issue of upgrades to Generation 2. “Many pre-standards products have been sold on the promise that they are firmware-upgradeable,” says Michielsen. “It turns out that often means upgradeable only to single or multi-unit use, but not to the ‘dense’ configuration which is the only one that really matters. Buyers must scan the fine print and be very sure that their purchases are fully upgradeable, or they risk having to replace all their readers.”