New Standards Mark RFID-Enabled Labels

A new RFID specification has been established to help differentiate between product labels that contain radio-frequency identification transponders and those that don't.

The AIM RFID Mark provides a way for companies to visually identify RFID-enabled barcode labels. The specification is intended to be built into labels and will help workers using handheld readers easily sort out the various label types.

Developed under the umbrella of the AIM Global Standards Action Group and the AIM Global RFID Action Group, the mark is a distinctive pattern containing a unique two-character code that defines the type of transponder and data.

The first character indicates the frequency and coding ability, and the second character indicates the data content and/or structure.

The mark can be printed in a small area and contains specific codes for specific items, says Daniel Mullen, president of AIM Global. 'Workers will know the code number(s) of the RFID label(s) he or she is supposed to read,' he said.

Boeing originally requested the AIM RFID Mark to augment its planned usage of RFID-enabled barcode labels on its aircraft.

Because of the international nature of business today, it's important to have a single standard for identifying RFID-enabled labels, tags, and packages that can be recognised around the world, says Mullen.

'What AIM has done is provide a single, globally-acceptable standard, and the AIM RFID mark will avoid this unnecessary complexity,' said AIM's Dick Sorenson.

RFID is starting to make inroads in the retail sector in particular. Wal-Mart is in the throes of an enormous RFID project (Computing, 7 October), key to which is its Retail Link web software that allows the company's buyers and 30,000 suppliers to check inventory and sales.