RFID adoption is likely to speed up with standards in Australia for the technology's tags and readers given the green light.
EAN Australia, which this month changed its name to GS1Australia, confirmed today at its Impetus 2005 conference in Melbourne that it has been granted a national scientific licence for RFID implementation projects, outlining the necessary power and frequencies to be used.
RFID projects in Australia can now by deployed against the standard power for RFID readers at 4 watts, using the frequency between 920 - 925 MHz.
More importantly, the Generation 2 UHF standard (allowing for global interoperability and a converged standard) is close to being ratified by ISO (International Standards Organization) for global use. The Gen2 standard was initially released in December, 2004.
Chris Adcock, chief executive officer of EPC Global (Electronic Product Code), said there will be an increase in tags and readers available for sale in the second half of this year, as a result of the standard. The driver, according to Adcock, is coming from the consumer end as opposed to hardware vendors.
"EPC develops the global standards in response to user requirements, and once the Gen2 standard was ratified by the EPC global board of government it went straight to ISO," Adcock said.
"Because ISO is an organization of nations it is important that it looks at the standards developed by EPC and endorses those through its own standards development process; the Gen2 standard, which is called ISO 18000 6 part C, has now passed the first critical stage in ISO and is now well on its way to becoming a global standard.
"It is not until you have organizations connected in a secure, authenticated and authorized way according to a set of standards that we can achieve this vision of supply chain visibility on event-related information and will enable organizations to improve customer availability and reduce out of stock incidents. Gillette says it has had a 22 percent improvement of out-of-stock stores since using RFID."
Coles Myer supply chain group general manager Andrew Potter said RFID, from a commercial point of view, is driven by consumer demand for immediate ease of choice but what will enable the core of any RFID project, the data, to work is the use of standards.
"An RFID project will not work without quality data and that is where the common standards apply," Potter said.
'You need standard numbering for goods, standard ways of carrying data in a machine-readable format and standard ways of transmitting the data between trading partners, which allows retailers and suppliers to speak a common language.
"We [Coles Myer] have 20 stores on roll cages at the moment, 22 suppliers doing factory gate pricing, plus two UPCs (Universal Product Code) are already under way and more are going to be announced - we are moving very fast."
Michael Crawford is attending the conference as a guest of Impetus 2005