Digital Magazine

Glossary of RFID-Related Terms

See RFID: Beyond the Mandate.

Active Tag—RFID tags with a battery or other integrated source of energy see Transponder.

Amplitude—RFID signals are in the form of a radio wave and amplitude is the measure of a RFID radio wave in terms of height, from zenith to nadir.

Antenna—RFID system component that radiates the radio frequency energy to and receives energy from the tag or transponder.

Auto-ID Ctr.—The Auto-ID Ctr. was a partnership between business and academia to develop common, non-propriety standards for RFID technology and commercialize the potential for automatic product identification.

Auto-ID Labs—The Auto-ID Lab is a federation of research universities that has evolved from the Auto-ID Ctr., initially founded in 1999 to develop an open standard architecture for creating a seamless global network of physical objects.

EAN Intl.—EAN Intl. (European Article Numbering) was founded in 1977.

EAN.UCC—EAN Intl. and The Uniform Code Council (UCC), a member organization of an expanded EAN Intl., are voluntary standards organizations charged by their respective boards with the co-management of the EAN.UCC System and the Global Standard Management Process (GSMP). The EAN.UCC System standardizes bar codes, EDI (electronic data exchange) transactions sets, XML schemas, and other supply chain solutions for more efficient business.

EDI—Electronic Data Interchange is used to transfer electronically common business documents between two or more trading partners.

EPC—Electronic Product Code is an identification scheme for universally identifying physical objects via RFID tags and other means.

EPC Discovery Services—Component of the EPC Network that offers track and trace functionality of RFID tags across the supply chain.

EPC IS—EPC Information Service is part of the EPC Network and provides a secure environment for sharing and storing specific EPC product data between trading partners.

EPCglobal—EPCglobal Inc. is a joint venture between EAN Intl. and the UCC and is governed by the EPCglobal Board of Governors. The Board of Governors of EPCglobal will guide the organization towards achieving worldwide adoption and standardization of EPC technology in an ethical and responsible way.

EPCglobal Network or EPC Network—The EPCglobal Network is an infrastructure designed to facilitate the sharing of dynamic EPC (license plate) information across the entire web of the supply chain. The network is managed by VeriSign.

Filtering—A process of aggregating or deleting data.

Frequency—The measure of the RFID radio wave in terms of the number of times the signal executes a complete excursion through its maximum and minimum values and returns to the same value (cycles).

GDSN—Global Data Synchronization Network allows for trading partners to share static information about products.

GLN—The Global Location Number is a structured means of identifying a physical location and is part of the EPC.

GTIN—Global Trade Item Number is a numeric value used to identify a trade item. GTIN is part of the EPC.

Interrogator—see Reader
Middleware—Software application that links together a tactical solution with an enterprise software application.
Nominal Range—The range a system can assure reliable operation, considering the normal variability of the environment in which it is used.
ONS—Object Name Service is part of the EPC Network and is the "authoritative directory" of RFID tag information.
Passive Tag—RFID tags without an internal battery or other integrated source of energy.

PML—Physical Mark-Up Language defines products in a way computers can understand. PML is similar to the syntax used for sharing data over the Internet.

Read—The decoding, extraction, and presentation of data from formatting, control and error management bits sent from a tag.

Read Only—A tag that allows information to read but prevents data from being changed.

Readability—The ability to extract data under less than optimal conditions.

Read Rate—The maximum rate data can be read from a tag expressed in bits or bytes per second.

Read/Write—Many applications require new data or revisions to data already in the Tag, be entered into the Tag, while it remains attached to its object. Tags with this capability are said to be reprogrammable and are called read/write tags, memory cards, or memory modules.

Reader—A radio-enabled device that communicates with a tag.

Savant—Middleware software application designed to process and filter multiple RFID events or reads from one or more readers.

SGTIN—Serialized Global Trade Item Number part of the EPC code.

SSCC—Serial Shipping Container Code part of the EPC.

Slap & Ship—Implying a factor programmed passive RFID tag with limited logic placed on a case or carton. One of the least complex RFID implementation strategies.

Trade Item—Any product or service that can be priced, invoiced or traced throughout the supply chain.

Transponder—A RFID tag or other electronic device that acts as a TRANSmitter/resPONDER when attached to a product or object to be identified. When appropriate signals are received, the tag transmits information in the form of a radio wave to a reader.

UCC—Universal Code Council is a standard setting body for barcode and other product identification tools.
Write—The transfer of data to a tag, the tags internal operation of storing the data, and it may include reading the data in order to verify the operation. Write Rate—The rate information is transferred to a tag, written into the tag’s memory, and verified as being correct.

The following sources were consulted in preparing the preceding glossary of RFID terms and are a good source of information on RFID and the EPC Network: rfidjournal.com; aimglobal.org; rfidgazette.com; epcglobalinc.org; usingrfid.com; uc-council.org; ean-ucc.org.

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