RFID equipment by Intermec Technologies has become the first RFID (radio frequency identification) equipment to comply with the new approved European standard for RFID at UHF. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is an independent, non-profit organisation officially responsible for standardisation of information and communication technologies within Europe. Intermec's IF4 and IF5 RFID readers are compliant to ETSI radio standards for operation in Europe, both under the lower power 0.5W erp (EN300 220) standard and the newly established 2.0W erp (EN302 208) RFID standard, which permits higher RF power.
Based in Sophia Antipolis, France, ETSI unites 688 members from 55 countries inside and outside Europe, including manufacturers, network operators, administrations, service providers, research bodies and users. The former ETSI standard allowed only one channel of operation, which provided half the tag range compared to FCC regulations. The new standard provides for ten channels of operation with tag read ranges equivalent to FCC regulations.
"This standard has been developed with the widespread support of the RFID industry," said ETSI Task Group Chairman John Falck. "By introducing new concepts such as 'listen before talk' and 'frequency agile' techniques, the standard permits optimum use of the available spectrum. For the first time, it now will be possible in Europe for RFID at UHF to meet the needs of end-users."
The IF5 currently is being used by METRO AG in Europe as a part of its full-scale RFID rollout.
This achievement continues Intermec leadership in obtaining radio approvals, which started in 1999 with the first Passive UHF RFID Reader approved under FCC's Part 15 spread spectrum rules.
"RFID offers powerful capabilities for business process efficiency when used from one end of a supply chain to the other," said Intermec Vice President Scott Medford. "Intermec's commitment to global interoperability means global trading partners can access the benefits of RFID across territorial and frequency boundaries."
"This is more than an intent to design to radio standards," said Intermec Chief Technologist Rene Martinez, who leads Intermec's RFID reader design team. "Intermec equipment has successfully passed ETSI's rigorous tests, which are conducted by an independent laboratory. Our equipment now is authorised for sale in a growing list of European countries."
RFID is a complement to industry's current bar code-based tracking systems, allowing companies to automatically track inventory throughout an entire supply chain. RFID automatic data collection typically does not require line of sight or manual scanning as do most bar code-based systems. For example, information from RFID-tagged cases on a pallet can be read automatically using fixed, mobile or handheld readers rather than requiring individual bar code scanning. Read/write RFID tags and labels can be reprogrammed to update the information on each tag as it proceeds through manufacturing and supply chain processes, providing new levels of up-to-date information for timely decision making.