David Lyon, Business Manager for EPCglobal GS1 UK, recently gave us a thorough update to EPC (electronic Product Code) standards. To date, 612 companies are members of EPCglobal (including IDTechEx). He noted that membership registrations from the far east, especially China, were "going through the roof," in line with IDTechEx forecasts that this territory will become the biggest user of RFID within the next 5 years.
The next steps for the highly publicised EPC Gen 2 specification is to incorporate the latest minor comments from the June 2005 meeting (Nov 2005), have a final draft by February 2006 and expect ISO to adopt this as a new ISO standard (ISO 18000-6C) in March 2006.
David cited the benefits of Generation 2 over previous Class 1 EPC tags such that they can be read ten times faster (although we note that in actual use with other parameters much less than quoted speeds from manufacturers), have a larger memory and are smaller than the tags they intend to replace.
Moving on from ID alone, David stated that EPCglobal sees sensing as very important and intend to do much more work on standardising and educating on the topic.