GS1, the nonprofit standards organization, announced Friday that it has ratified two new Electronic Product Code (EPC) standards, which offer additional capabilities to users tagging items with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology.
The first standard is the EPC HF RFID Air Interface Protocol Version 2.0.3, which the GS1 release explained was developed out of a need for better high-frequency tag reading in the healthcare industry. The standard's improved reading and interrogating abilities is backwards compatible with older high-frequency systems, the organization said in a news release.
GS1 also announced a new version of the Tag Data Standard (TDS) to introduce an update to the EPC Header for Aerospace and Defense. That new standard will allow manufacturers in that sector to attach their own identifiers as a prefix to the EPC number. This should increase label tracking and traceability for aerospace and defense companies that manufacture aircraft parts, GS1 announced.
The nonprofit noted that it worked closely with major organizations in that sector to coordinate efforts on the new header. NATO, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Transport Association all provided representatives who helped collaborate on the standards' direction and implementation.
Ultimately, GS1's approach in developing and introducing these new standards show the organization's efforts to listen to user needs. Giselle Ow-Yang, a standards manager at GS1, told RFID Journal that the EPC HF RFID Air Interface Protocol was updated specifically at the request of healthcare professionals out of a desire for more flexible RFID tagging.
At the same time, the healthcare sector won't be the only one able to benefit from the new standard. As the RFID Journal report notes, high-frequency technology is in use in many situations that require short-range tag reading, such as beverage manufacturing.