Auto ID Events Vocabulary: first step towards RFID interoperability

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is becoming an increasingly important Auto ID technology in the automotive industry. It is used to identify assets, track the movement of parts, packaging and transport equipment through the logistics process and record the use of components and assemblies in production.

All of these activities rely on the reading of information that is held on RFID tags and in order to build and maintain a comprehensive information system it is necessary to link these ‘read’ operations to business events and status information. The problem is that, although there is an ISO standard in existence that provides a framework for the identification and communication of common business events, several important steps in the automotive supply and production processes are not yet covered in the standard.

In order to avoid proprietary extensions being made to the standard by individual companies and in order to achieve interoperability throughout the European automotive supply chain, a collaborative approach to the development of a specific automotive events vocabulary is necessary.

In Germany, the VDA had already brought together German automotive companies to work on this topic but the automotive industry is not confined by national borders and there was a clear need to involve major companies from other countries in order to achieve interoperability throughout the European supply chain, at least.

Odette has therefore launched a Project Group (headed by Robert Bosch) to develop a European Automotive Business Vocabulary, which will identify and describe typical logistics and production scenarios in the automotive industry which are likely to be captured by RFID or other Auto-ID technologies.

In addition to Robert Bosch and the other German companies who were involved in the earlier work, companies now participating in the international project include: FCA, Ford Otosan, Peugeot, Renault-Nissan, Scania and Volvo GTO.

A number of initial use cases where RFID will bridge the digital gap and bring the most benefit have been selected and the group is now identifying and describing the “events” which support those use cases. For each process, examples of standardised events and digital messages will be given and the first deliverables from the project are expected to be available in Q3 2018.

Over and above the official deliverables, the companies involved in the project consider the exchange of experiences of implementing the technology on a day to day basis to be invaluable.

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