EPCglobal, a part of GS1, is leading the development and implementation of industry-driven standards for the Electronic Product Code (EPC) through close collaboration between several end users, RFID solution providers, academia (MIT, USA and seven other Auto ID Labs worldwide) and other not-for-profit bodies from across the world. EPCglobal standards, comprising of data standards - EPC data structure (for identification using GS1 global identifiers) and interface standards (EPCIS) - are used in designing RFID applications.
The EPC, a unique number similar to the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) on GS1 barcodes, is the key that contains information used within the EPCglobal Network to identify specific items in the supply chain. However, unlike GTIN, which can distinguish a can of soup from a box of chocolate chip biscuits, EPC can identify a specific can of soup or box of biscuits by its unique ID number. An infinite amount of dynamic data can be associated with the EPC number and made available by providing access to databases where supplementary information is stored. The EPC number is encoded in microchip of RFID tags.
Benefits of EPCglobal standards
EPC-based RFID facilitate interoperability, scalability, vendor independence and lower deployment costs of RFID implementations. In addition, there are also other benefits that can be obtained through the use of EPCglobal standards:
- Reduction of counterfeits in a variety of product categories.
- Prevention of pilferage by improving product tracking.
- Faster and more efficient product recall.
- Improved product availability in retail stores.
- Reduction of hazardous waste from landfills by increasing recycling and eliminating.
Find more about EPCglobal Standards