More power and name change to GS1

GS1 Australia
Sunday, 11 September, 2005

A name change and the grant of a 4 W licence were two of the highlights of the EAN's (now GS1 Australia) Impetus 2005: Vision in Progress: Global Standards and RFID conference in Melbourne.

More than 250 delegates attended the two-day event that attracted speakers from countries that included Britain, the US, China and India. They gave papers on topics ranging from the technicalities of RFID (radio frequency identification) to its practical applications by grocery distribution giants such as Woolworths and Coles Myer and the technology's use in large warehouses.

Other presentations looked further ahead to see where the technology might be in a few years' time.

GS1 Australia was formally launched at the end of the first day. This new title supersedes EAN to more accurately reflect the growing worldwide standards in RFID.

CEO, Maria Palazzolo promised that, "GS1, through the pooling of global talents, will see the boundaries that used to exist between countries, markets and individuals, disappear".

She said that GS1 Australia will work with other GS1 organisations, "to speak with one voice, have one vision and act as one organisation".

The new name represents the global system of standards (GS) and the fact that there now exists one global system, one global standard and one global organisation. The new logo features a globe and travelling chevrons that hint at the evolution of new generations of electronic standards such as EPCglobal and GDSN (global data synchronisation network).

As Maria explained to the conference delegates:

"The globalisation of commerce has made worldwide standards imperative with the global community calling for unity from the two main standard bodies in the world, the EAN and the UCC (Uniform Code Council). The delivery of GS1 combines the legacies of these two organisations with no geographic or industry boundaries."

GS1 Australia is a not-for-profit organisation, now one of more than 101 national member organisations driven by a membership of more than a million organisations who in turn do business in more than 140 countries. The other major announcement at the conference granted GS1 Australia a country-wide licence to allow RFID readers to operate at 4 W.

This power increase will mean that these devices can read tags from about twice the distance of the 1 W units currently available. This brings advantages when transporting and warehousing stock as there are many points in a supply chain where the extra power will ensure an accurate read.

Portals such as loading dock doors are common positions where RFID readers will take place at point of receipt and dispatch. The 1 W does not provide enough coverage for a reliable read.

The licence has been issued by the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority). This means that companies will need to apply directly to GS1 for permission to use their licence for each site.

Only sites that have been granted permission to use the licence will be able to operate their readers at 4 W.

GS1 will keep a database of each company and site that has been granted permission to use the licence. In the short term the goal is to establish a number of sites round the country using 4 W readers.

Longer term, this will allow GS1 to demonstrate that the readers do not interfere with other radio equipment on adjacent frequencies and to show that any interference can be overcome. Once this has been established the ultimate goal is to work with the ACMA to allow everyone to work with 4 W.

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