Global registry of product ID numbers serves the military and private sectors

A standards organization for radio-frequency identification tags has set up a global registry of product ID numbers to make the directory more useful to the military services.

'There is no such thing as purely military supply chain anymore,' said Sue Hutchinson, product manager at EPCglobal Inc. of Lawrenceville, N.J., the nonprofit organization that manages the registry. 'The military supply chain in many instances crosses into the commercial world.'

The registry will operate like a reverse telephone directory. Given a product number, it will return a Web address for more information about that product. Users can query the registry over the Internet or the Defense Department's Nonclassified IP Router Network, but trading partners must register to access it.

VeriSign Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., runs the global root directory for the Object Naming Service, which stores the electronic product numbers.

Hutchinson said EPCglobal has been working with Alan Estevez, the assistant deputy undersecretary of Defense for supply chain integration, and with the Automatic Information Technology office of the Defense Logistics Agency to accommodate DOD's unique identification requirement for highly sensitive goods.

EPCglobal is a joint venture of two supply chain standards bodies, EAN International of Brussels, Belgium, and the Uniform Code Council Inc., also of Lawrenceville.

'We're getting a lot of great cross-pollination from the commercial sector to the military and vice versa,' Hutchinson said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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