OmniAir accredits lab to test and certify 6C for toll interoperability (IOP)
By Peter Samuel
Another option for national toll interoperability is opening up with the OmniAir group endoring a testing lab to ensure tag and reader interoperability (IOP) across various equipment suppliers of 6C plus IOP across the various toll facilities. The first test lab chosen is MET Laboratories head-officed in Baltimore MD, and something of a specialist in RFID testing.
ISO/IEC 18000-6 Type C RFID protocol (6C) Certification will test for baseline interoperability and applied interoperability.
"Baseline IOP" is designed to ensures that tag and reader pairs can transition successfully from one state to another and to validate memory data.
"Applied IOP" aims to test that tags and readers can withstand the rigors of the road environment across the continent - performance, UV, humidity and temperature testing under differing extremes.
Working to 6C users group requirements
MET Laboratories will work to a 6C Requirements Document as produced by the 6C Toll Operators Committee or 6C User Group.
They say the first products are already under test, and they plan presentation of the first 6C compliance certificates at the IBTTA 80th annual conference in Orlando September 9 to 12.
Tim McGuckin, executive director of OmniAir Consortium is quoted: "The Board of OmniAir Certification Services put in a tremendous amount of effort working with the 6C Toll Operators Committee developing the OCS 6C-for-Tolling Certification Program. To see it reach this next critical stage - where we have an officially-accredited lab ready to test technologies primed for real world tolling deployments - is an exciting testament to the hard work of the OCS, and the overall vision of it and the OmniAir Consortium. We look forward to advancing the 6C Certification Program in 2012."
Spreading the pain of adjustment around among the big 4 toll blocs - TX, FL, CA, E-ZPass
6C has been embraced by several modest and small sized tolling states (WA, CO, GA, UT) on grounds of its technical capability and open standard which allows multiple vendors to compete - assuring multiple vendors and lowering price.
The E-ZPass group's pitch for IOP has been "We don't need to reinvent the wheel. Come join us." But the other large toll blocs FL, TX, and CA are not buying in. They don't see why they should be the ones doing all of the work of adapting for IOP, while E-ZPassland lays back and enjoys electronic toll business-as-usual.
Ed Regan of CDM Smith, an influential figure in the industry, has suggest.ed nationwide availability of the 6C toll option as a logical path to early national interoperability
Offering 6C tags to all motorists for national IOP would spread the work of adjustment to a national standard around more evenly. Each of the four tolling blocs would have to make the effort to offer 6C capability - mostly by adding multi-protocol readers to their tolling gantries over the course of the next four years and adding the 6C option to their regular tag offering.
Four years is a deadline for national IOP that IBTTA has accepted on behalf of the industry, and is now in federal law (MAP21.)
ATI hubs showed format translation
The Alliance for Toll Interoperability hubs have demonstrated the ability of IOP system designers to handle different file formats and business rules.
License plate reads and exchange of vehicle ownership data would be the secondary fallback or fill-in and enforcement technology.
Current suppliers of 6C tags and readers for motor vehicles are Federal Signal Technologies/Sirit, TransCore and Neology. 6C is more heavily used in supply chain or inventory tracking and companies involved there could be expected to develop vehicle-roadside applications also, if the amrket seemed large enough.
Tags are already available under $2 each - virtually give-away prices for tollers.
MET Laboratories (abbrev MET) is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, with office locations in Union City and Santa Clara, California, Austin, Texas, Cary, North Carolina, and wholly-owned international locations in Shenzhen, China; Taipei, Taiwan; Seoul, Korea and Milan, Italy.
MET claim special competency in RFID testing to assure safety, electromagnetic compatibility, and tag and reader interoperability. MET is the official test lab for the DASH7 Alliance (ISO 18000-7) and for the EPCglobal RFID Hardware & Software Certification Programs. Also MET says it tests to various ISO & IEC high frequency & ultra-high frequency RFID standards.