RFID performance is critical for the success of retail RFID deployments. That performance can be affected by a number of variables, including the items being tagged, the use case, the environment, and the scanning approach. In the past, individual retailers performed their own testing to establish tag performance for their applications.
Now, GS1 US has released its new Tagged Item Performance Protocol (TIPP) Guideline to provide a standard way to express performance requirements, and a standard test protocol to verify the performance of a specific tagged item (instead of an inlay). The goal of GS1 US is to provide education and support for industries as well as to facilitate industry initiatives. At this time, GS1 US is serving 25 industries and over two million businesses.
According to GS1 US, TIPP offers a standardized system to benchmark the performance of RFID-tagged items in multiple environments. TIPP includes tagged-item grade definitions, testing procedures and a product catalogue that defines the RFID tag orientation and layout of common retail items. Retailers can set performance levels for their use case using a tagged item grade, and suppliers will have more flexibility to meet those grade levels from multiple retailers.
“The performance of an RFID tag depends on many environmental variables such as the store environment, product packaging and orientation to the reader,” said Melanie Nuce, vice president of apparel and general merchandise, GS1 US, in a press release announcing the TIPP. “Historically, retailers have conducted their own RFID performance testing and set their own individual expectations for tag inlay solutions that may be used to tag products destined for their stores. This required suppliers to provide different solutions for different retailers. TIPP now allows retailers to set performance levels for a specific use case, and it also allows suppliers flexibility in how they meet grade levels from multiple retailers.”
The TIPP guideline was developed by members of the GS1 US Item Level RFID Workgroup, a collaboration within the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative.
GS1 US has released four key documents as part of the TIPP:
- The Tagged Item Grading Overview, which provides a synopsis of the tagged item grading guideline
- The Tagged Item Performance Protocol Grade Definition, which defines the TIPP grade specifications
- The Tagged Item Performance Protocol Test Methodology, which presents the procedure and methods of measurement to establish or qualify the grade for a tagged item
- The Tagged Item Performance Protocol Test Configuration, which defines the orientation for numerous types of tagged items (which is imperative for repeatable testing using the TIPP procedure)