RFID vendors form alliance to push interoperability

A group of vendors has announced the formation of the DASH7 Alliance, an organization that will develop standards and encourage interoperability of radio frequency identification (RFID) equipment. The name is derived from the current standard -- ISO 18000-7.

The ISO 18000-7 standard defines the interface for RFID devices operating as an active RF tag in the 433 MHz band and it is designed to provide a common technical specification for development of RFID application standards. RFID devices are currently used in government and private industry to track a variety of objects, including shipping containers, hazardous materials and manufacturing equipment.

“The DASH7 Alliance is an important next step for the wireless industry as DASH7-ready products become more ubiquitous,” said David Stephens, chief executive officer of Savi Technology, a founder of the group. “By assembling this coalition of both end users and technology companies, we can promote greater interoperability and reliability, but also inspire greater innovation around a common standard.”

Other industry members include Analog Devices, Dow, Evigie Systems, Hi-G-Tek, Identec Solutions, KPC, Lockheed Martin, Michelin, Northrop Grumman, RFind, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Unisys Corp. Three laboratories of the Energy. Department – Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – will serve as technical advisers. The the University of Pittsburgh will also serve as an advisory organization and will be the primary location for testing and certification of devices.

The primary driving force for the alliance, according to Pat Burns, Savi's head of licensing, is to encourage greater interoperability among the products from various vendors. “In my discussions with different licensees, there appeared to be some concern around interoperability amongst the vendors, maybe similar as to what you saw with the early days of 802.11,” said Burns. “We decided to get together and form and industry consortium similar to the Wifi Alliance.”

The organization expects to issue its first certificates of DASH7 Alliance compliance sometime this year. Only members of the alliance can actually receive a certificate for their equipment and there is no federal requirement for DASH7 Alliance certification from vendors.

More information is available at www.dash7.org.

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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