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GRIFS Meeting Fosters International Discussion on RFID Standards Issues

New York, Jun 23, 2008

In an effort to provide an overview of radio-frequency identification (RFID) standards activities, the Global RFID Interoperability Forum for Standards (GRIFS) held its first Open Meeting on June 18, 2008, in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting brought together over 70 stakeholders from companies, standards organizations, and public administrations around the world interested in RFID development and implementation.

Coordinated by GS1, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), GRIFS is a two-year project funded by the European Commission to build an international RFID Standards Forum. Discussions at the Open Meeting centered on the increasing interest in RFID technology, which has led to new initiatives as well as new concerns about the interoperability of this technology across national and regional borders.

The GRIFS meeting built upon discussions held during Interoperability: Key to International Business, a joint international conference held in February 2008 to address standards-based solutions to interoperability challenges in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. [see related article]

GRIFS Discussion Paper Now Available for Public Comment

A discussion paper detailing GRIFS project structure and key issues was publicly released following the Open Meeting.

Interested stakeholders are invited to review the paper and submit contributions and comments. Public input will be taken into account in the final report, which will be available in October 2008.

Speakers at last week's meeting covered a range of RFID-related topics, including global standards, strategies and new initiatives, and RFID use in specific industries, such as the postal sector.

Presentations given at the conference are freely available for download on the GRIFS Open Meeting website.

Robert Noth, chairman of the Board of Directors of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), spoke on the importance of interoperability and the overall U.S. landscape of RFID standardization.

“As customers and users of RFID products and technology, our participation and input is critical to the success of the effort,” said Noth. “It is incumbent upon us as stakeholders to make our expectations known and satisfied throughout the standards development process. This conference affords all of us an opportunity to learn from each others’ experiences and strengthen the interoperability of our networks, systems, devices, applications, and components.”

Noth went on to cite that organizations in the ICT community represent about 13% of ANSI’s membership. Many of these groups have a significant stake in RFID technologies.

For example, the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) maintains ANSI/INCITS 256-2007, an American National Standard that establishes technical guidelines for a family of compatible RFID devices.

The U.S. has also played a leading role in the world’s largest IT-focused standards-setting committee, ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC 1), holding the chairmanship and secretariat of this committee since its creation in 1987. JTC 1 sub-committee (SC) 31, Automatic identification and data capture techniques, has been responsible for nearly thirty published standards related to RFID. The U.S. also holds the secretariat and the chairmanship of SC 31, which works in liaison with many organizations including the coordinators of the GRIFS initiative.

Finally, Noth described the U.S. government’s interest in RFID technologies. In 2007, President Bush established the Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, a committee charged with identifying actions to improve the safety of imported products. The committee’s Action Plan for Import Safety specifically identifies RFID technologies for product tracking, which would expedite consumer notification of emerging or existing product hazards while adequately protecting consumer privacy. [see related article]

GRIFS has scheduled five meetings for the coming months, in Halifax, Tokyo, San Diego, Hong Kong, and Brussels. The first of these five will be held on June 30, 2008, in conjunction with CASAGRAS (Coordination and Support Action for Global RFID-related Activities and Standardization). During this day-long event in Halifax, UK, participants will discuss RFID networks, data exchange, and governance, among other topics. For more information or to register, click here.

The next GRIFS meeting to be held in the U.S. will be on November 20, 2008, in San Diego, California. This workshop will focus on air interface, sensor, conformance, and performance standards. For more information or to participate in this event, please contact

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