Kicking Out the Exceptions
"If a person has to intervene on every single EPC read, its not going to work," he said. "You have to have something thats going to say, kick out exceptions. Thats the kind of thing you want to see in EPCIS." That exception functionality will be in a later iteration of the standard, according to Ellis.To this end, Unilever which manufactures consumer goods products including the Dove, Birds Eye and Hellmans brands, represented by Ellis, participated in a separate EPCglobal working group to define the data that will move back and forth with the EPCIS standard. For example, the group looked at how to define a receipt, and what that should include, or what kind of information should be sent with an EPC event. It also asked if data is added to an EDI transaction set and EPC data is added to that, what elements should be sentcommission date, departure date, EPC number, serial code? "We dont want each company to define data elements a little bit differently like with EDI," said Ellis. "We want to define one set of data elements that everyone can use and transmit back and forth with manufacturers, retailers and suppliers. Thats why were so keen on the pilot." Down the road the data elements defined in the working group will hook up with the product attributes defined in the Global Data Synchronization Network which is being developed by EPCglobal. EPCglobals EPCIS standard is currently in the last call working draft and in pilot testing. The standard is expected to be ratified by the fourth quarter 2006. "Trading partners and industry groups that choose to share RFID information via this new standard will see profound overall efficiency improvements," said Jonathan Golovin, T3Cis CEO, in Mountain View, Calif. "This year our solutions will process more than 100 million tag reads and at the end of the year we expect the majority will be exchanged using the EPCIS standard." Should the standard prove scalable and is actually adopted, that would be a good thing, according to Ellis, who said the big challenge with RIFD is managing the data. "If you do a little bit of quick math and say, we now have a unique number on each casewere tagging at the case level, not the item leveland were only tracking out to the sales floor and not any further, the data adds up," Ellis said. "But even at the case level, given that any retailer might have six, seven, eight different read points and were selling them millions of cases, the question quickly becomes how do you manage the data?" Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
The objective of the EPCIS Working Group is to create common interfaces among RFID software, in turn enabling the companies using RFID to exchange RFID dataindependent of the applications where the data is created or stored.