Standards groups are known for glacial speed, but Dash7 moves with faster frequency.
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On July 23, 2010, the DASH7 Alliance met for a status meeting. The work has been moving along with high frequency! Not only is DASH7 focusing on significant upgrades in the 433Mhz device capabilities, but is also collaborating and integrating with the UHF universe.
Why is the work important?
Address the government purchasers/contracting requirements for an open and certified device market. The DoD and other government agencies need to have purchasing choices from a variety of interoperable solutions in the market.
Assure interoperability between the DASH7 (18000-7) device community.
Assure leverage of existing networks of passive RFID (UHF and LF), protecting customer investments in the technology that they have already purchased.
Common set of APIs to integrate to applications software.
Broaden the community of users/'enrich the DASH7 universe' with applications that service the consumer, business and government sectors.
Address security and privacy concerns which have hampered the industry’s growth.
We find these goals to be progressive and so essential, since the inherent goal is to build some cool stuff so that the market will grow, not just to agree on data, frequency and power standards, as is often the case in standards groups.
Individually, each RFID sector (UHF, HF, LF, Active 433 MHz, and 802.xx) is a small market. RFID is a complex technical sale. Once a user winnows down a complex set of requirements, they have isolated themselves from the other technologies. Organizations such as hospitals, airports, repair centers, ports and other complex environments, find themselves with multiple parallel networks. These environments can then incur some risks of interference between the RFID or wireless networks, or create additional and somewhat redundant investments with these parallel networks.
This hampers or stops end-user adoption, since the complexities in addressing testing, equipment purchase, and implementation are just too annoying and require too much effort for project sponsors inside the organizations to push through a purchase.
In addition, security assurances are critical to social acceptance, since 'privacy' concerns don’t seem to go away (though society is very concerned about national security, product protection, quality assurance of global goods, and personal safety.) But for the active RFID market, these are not just annoying consumer lobbying concerns, but concerns of national security. Advanced security capabilities can not only address secure transmission of data, assure identity and authentication, but provide cloaking. Cloaking, we feel, is a most welcome element, if it can be done, in device security, since it masks the presence of the device (except devices which have permissions to identify that device). This can reduce pirating in the commercial sector, and protect the warfighter and depot stocks in the field from unwanted locating.
These are goals that are all part of the work of various working groups.
Addressing these agenda issues can significantly open up the market, bringing reluctant buyers into the fold, and opening the door to a new generation of breakthrough applications.
Figure 1 - Comparison of DASH7 with other Standards (Source: DASH7 Alliance)
DASH7 provides a feature-rich and globally standards-based device (see Figure 1) that is more technologically advanced than other devices in the space. Though some readers will challenge that statement, it is important to read the working group reports and goals to understand this. This is not just a 433Mhz sales pitch. Mode 2 and Mode 2 Revision to ISO 18000-7 (mode 2 PDF document) are being proposed that 'old timers' in this space will find exciting.