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Active RFID Standardization and Interoperability – ISO 18000-7: 2008 and RFID III

Technical standards are a wonderful thing but without market place acceptance, they never get rolled out into the real world. This article addresses directly how the new ISO 18000-7:2008 standard for interoperability of active RFID devices from different manufacturers is being accepted. The adoption of this standard, along with the RFID III additions that go beyond just the over the air aspects of ISO 18000-7, by one of the largest most technologically adept militaries and alliances in the world will go a long way to getting other agencies and governments to adopt the standard. This will drive its ac- ceptance globally.

Executive Summary Does the title sound a little hyperbolic to you? It does to me too, but the real point is that signi- cant strides have been made to allow interoper- ability between different active radio frequency identication (RFID) manufacturers that has not existed before. Further, this interoperability is real, tested, independently veried, and in pro- duction.

Active RFID is the style of RFID that has been around the longest. It has remained, until the 18000-7 standard, a world of conicting pro- prietary approaches ranging from frequency choice to low level protocol nuts and bolts. Over the years the read ranges have climbed from a couple of meters to 100 meters, battery life has been extended to 5 years, costs have come down, sensor technology has been incorporated, yet interoperability was still missing. There was no inherent advantage for any one vendor to share its technology or to push for a common approach – the market was still very much about differentiation due to the hardware technology itself. ISO 18000-7:2008, adopted and initiated by the US DoD, based on their practical experi- ences with a proprietary approach, has led to this break through.

When you add to this the new RFID III project of the Department of Defense (DoD) and NATO, the air interface protocol of 18000-7 is supple- mented by additional standards and practices These include; common communication applica- tion interface (CAI or drivers) that allow dispa- rate software developers to build one application that can talk to any interrogator which can talk to any transponder (tag), six different form factors for transponders, three different form factors for interrogators, and inclusion of sensor technology just to name a few.
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