The Electronic Product Code™ (EPC) is a unique identifier for physical objects or locations
The EPC, a unique number similar to the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) on GS1 barcodes, is the key that contains information 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 Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.
When unique EPCs are encoded onto individual RFID tags, radio waves can be used to capture the unique IDs at extremely high rates and at distances well in excess of 10 metres, without line-of-sight contact. These characteristics of RFID can be leveraged to boost supply chain visibility and increase inventory accuracy.
EPCs have multiple representations, including binary forms suitable for use on RFID tags, and text forms suitable for data sharing among enterprise information systems.
Benefits of EPC/RFID:
- Facilitates interoperability, scalability, vendor independence and lower deployment costs of RFID implementations.
- Provides real-time visibility of stocks in transit and in warehouses/distribution centres.
- Enables counterfeit detection across product categories.
- Enables real-time stock taking in retail stores.
RFID Air Interfaces
RFID Software Interfaces
- Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP)
- Discovery Configuration & Initialisation (DCI)
- Reader Management (RM)
- Application Level Events (ALE)