A standard for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has taken another step towards ratification following the release of a draft frequency spectrum plan from the Australian Communications Authority (ACA).
The plan, on which the ACA will accept queries and submissions until October 15, is being updated to incorporate changes made to international frequency allocations at the 2003 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference.
The 300-page document dictates frequencies for all radio transmissions, including the operating frequency range that future RFID equipment will operate within.
The developer of the Electronic Product Code used to uniquely identify products, EAN, said it removed a large part of the doubt surrounding interference with mobile phones and other radio equipment.
"We're still on track for standardisation in January 2005," EAN's general manager of standards development, Fiona Wilson, said. "We're a little bit closer."
The standardisation on one frequency band also meant manufacturers and the channel could now start looking into purchasing RFID equipment, Peacock Brothers strategic marketing coordinator, Craig McKenzie, said.
"Now we know the range RFID will be working in we have started importing label printers that customers can be sure will work with the Australian standards," he said.
McKenzie said consolidation was already occurring in the RFID equipment vendor community as the larger manufacturers positioned themselves to make money from consumables such as labels and printer ribbon.
"The market is setting itself up for full-scale adoption of RFID," he said. "Printer and handset manufacturers are looking to buy up the smaller label makers to ensure long-term revenues."
McKenzie said it was only a matter of education to get users on board and get rid of the fear factor associated with RFID implementation.
"When I saw the spectrum plan I took it that the ACA was going to make the January 1 deadline," McKenzie said. "Now we have the details we can start looking at educating our customers to show them it isn't as complicated as they initially think. It is only another module of software to add to a warehouse system, and the whole thing's fairly automated."