Pan-industry organizations are member based and create specifications and recommendations for groups of industries and users. These standards are usually voluntary, and only after being ratified by an international standardization organization such as the ISO do they become standards for everyone.
GS1 is a global voluntary standards organization that manages the GS1 system and the global standards management process (GSMP). The GS1 system develops standards for bar codes, EDI transactions sets, XML schemas, and other supply-chain solutions that help to increase the efficiency of business (for instance, traceability for tracking in the food supply chain and patient safety in the healthcare supply chain).
GS1 took over the legacies of EAN International and the Uniform Code Council (UCC), including their member base, and now maintains the largest item identification system in the world and "the most implemented supply-chain standards system in the world."
GS1 works through its 104 international member organizations, including GS1 Australia, GS1 United Kingdom, GS1 Brazil, GS1 Canada, and the like. In the United States, the GS1 works through the GS1 U.S.
The GS1 system is divided into four main areas based on GS1 identification keys:
GS1 BarCodes Consists of global data and application standards for bar codes.
GS1 eCom Comprises global standards for electronic business messaging between trading partners. This area is based on GS1 EANCOM and GS1 XML.
GS1 EPCglobal Includes a global standards system combining RFID, existing communication network infrastructure, and the electronic product code (EPC) to provide automatic identification and item tracking throughout the supply chain, including improved efficiency and supply-chain visibility.
GS1 GDSN Enables trading partners to have the same item data in their systems at the same time. A key component of the GDSN network is the global product classification (GPC).
EPCglobal is an organization that develops industry standards and specifications for the EPC to support and promote the use of RFID in supply-chain applications. Its primary goal is to increase supply-chain efficiency and visibility and support high-quality information flow between trading partners.
EPCglobal's goal is to support and commercialize the EPCglobal Network developed by the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Auto-ID Center ended its administrative functions in 2003, and its research has been continuing under the Auto-ID Labs.
EPCglobal developed the specifications for the EPC Generation 1 and Generation 2 tags. The EPC Gen 2 specification is being ratified by the ISO to become ISO/IEC 18000 Part 6C, and will function as a unified global standard for UHF tags. Gen 2 specifies not only the data format, but also the air interface protocol.
EPCglobal has established a standard format for the EPC number, which consists of the EPC identifier that uniquely identifies an individual item, and a filter value that supports effective reading of the EPC tag. The EPC number itself does not carry any information except for the unique number, which has to be matched to a database to retrieve any information associated with this number.
A new version of the EPC standard was published in March 2006 and related to EPC Gen 2 tags. Although it maintains compatibility with the previous version 1.1 for EPC Gen 1 tags, some changes were made, such as abandoning the rules for tiered headers (which became a fixed 8-bit length with provision for future extensions); deprecation of 64-bit encodings; preference for EPC encodings to fit the structure of Gen 2 tags; changes related to extending the number of bits used for SGTIN, SGLN, GRAI, and GIAI; and changes in the alpha-numeric serial number encoding.
Every EPC number includes a header (fixed 8-bit length), which carries the information about the encoding scheme used; this scheme determines the type, length, and structure of the EPC. The header is then followed by the unique EPC identifier and a filter value. EPC supports several encoding schemes:
General Identifier (GID) GID-96.
SGTIN and GTIN (Serialized EAN.UCC Global Trade Item Number: SGTIN-96 SGTIN-198).
SSCC (EAN.UCC Serial Shipping Container Code: SSCC-96).
GLN (EAN.UCC Global Location Number: SGLN-96, SGLN-195).
GRAI (EAN.UCC Global Returnable Asset Identifier: GRAI-96, GRAI-170).
GIAI (EAN.UCC Global Individual Asset Identifier: GIAI-96, GIAI-202).
DOD Construct (DoD-96). This identifier is defined by the U.S. DoD and may be used to encode a 96-bit Class 1 tag that is being shipped to the U.S. DoD, if the supplier has a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code.
The General Identifier (GID) consists of four components:
A header (8 bits), which has the same function for all EPC numbers. The GID header is 0011 0101. (You have to remember this number for the exam … just kidding!)
A general manager number (28 bits), which identifies the organizational entity or company. This number is assigned by EPCglobal and is unique for each entity.
An object class (24 bits), which identifies a type or class of the item. It has to be unique within the general manager number domain. An object class can be a stock-keeping unit (SKU) or a related code, and it is assigned by the company.
A serial number (36 bits), which is a unique number identifying a single item. The number has to be unique within the object class, and it is assigned by the company.
The Serialized Global Trade Item Number (SGTIN) is based on the GTIN. The GTIN is just like the barcode universal product code (UPC) that is on everything you buy. The UPC identifies the company and the item, but is not unique to that particular product. The SGTIN adds a serial number to the GTIN so every item is uniquely identified. The SGTIN consists of the following:
A header (8 bits)
A filter value (3 bits), which is used for fast filtering and preselection of defined logistic types.
A partition (3 bits), which indicates the point where the company prefix and the item reference are divided, because their length is not fixed.
A company prefix (20–40 bits), which is assigned by GS1 to the company/organization.
An item reference (4–24 bits), which is assigned by the company to a particular object class. In order to encode the item reference to a tag, the indicator digit from the GTIN is combined with the item reference digits into a single integer.
A serial number (38 bits in SGTIN-96, up to 140 bits for SGTIN-198), which is assigned by the company to an individual item. This number is the part that turns the GTIN into the SGTIN.
The Serialized Shipping Container Code (SSCC) uniquely identifies a shipping container, including its contents. The SSCC includes the following:
A header (8 bits)
A filter value (3 bits) and partition (3 bits)
A company prefix (20–40 bits), which is assigned by GS1 to a company.
A serial reference (18–38 bits), which is assigned uniquely by the company to a specific shipping unit. To encode the serial reference to a tag, the serial reference digits have to be combined with the extension digit into a single integer.
In SSCC-96, 24 bits are unallocated and unused.
Because the certification is vendor-neutral, it also does not go too deep into EPC data formats. However, if you are interested, you can find more details and description of the remaining EPC numbers at http://www.epcglobalinc.org/standards_technology/Ratified%20Spec%20March%208%202006.pdf.
AIM Global is a global trade association with over 900 members in 43 countries. Its main goal is to support and promote the use of automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) technologies and services around the world. Members of AIM Global are companies involved in RFID, bar code, card technologies, biometrics, and electronic article surveillance (EAS).
AIM Global produces reports such as AIM Global Technical Report: RFID for Food Animal Identification in North America, specifications such as Proposed Guidelines for the Use of RFID-Enabled Labels in Military Logistics: Recommendations for Revision of MIL-STD-129, or bases for standards that are being published by ANSI.