HP, Philips join to push new RFID standard

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV have teamed up to push adoption of a worldwide standard for RFID (radio frequency identification) systems, the companies announced Tuesday at the EPCglobal U.S. Conference in Atlanta.

RFID technology marks objects with tags that can read from a distance by radio-equipped reader systems. It is being adopted to track and inventory objects in retail, transportation, and other industries.

The companies will use their RFID expertise to proliferate the EPC Class 1 Generation 2 specification, also known as Gen2, according to a statement. Gen2, developed by EPCglobal Inc. and submitted to ISO (International Organization for Standardization), is intended to be a single global standard for RFID applications using UHF (ultrahigh frequency) signals. It will replace earlier EPCglobal standards and resolve differences among RFID systems used in different parts of the world, according to HP and Philips.

With Gen2, a single tag can now be transported around the world and be read by most readers, according to the companies. HP and Philips said they will collaborate to ensure that RFID users can smoothly migrate to Gen2 from earlier technology.

The companies will take complementary roles in their support of Gen 2, with Philips providing RFID chips and HP's services business helping customers implement Gen2 RFID systems, the companies said.

HP will use Philips Gen2 technology at a facility in Sao Paolo, Brazil, where it tests out RFID supply chain concepts. The Philips Gen2 technology will take the place of EPC 1.19 systems currently in use there.

In addition to the potential to be a global standard, Gen2 lets multiple RFID readers operate in a smaller area without interfering with each other. It also adds an encryption feature to hide the contents of RFID tags from anyone not authorized to see them.

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