In a chronicle (Europe 1 radio - 25th of November 2007: http://www.europe1.fr/informations/chronique-t2.jsp?idboitier=767123#) Jacques Attali points out a very good news: GS1 France is about to launch an independent ONS root, which announcement will occur on the 03th of December.

Actually, this ONS root (*) will help the “EPCGlobal European community” to protect its own numeric sovereignty; and subsequently its economic one as well since ONS is a cornerstone of the EPCGlobal design for the Internet of things (*).

We sincerely congratulate GS1 France for it: as a think tank, SIAIGE has, amongst others, strongly lobbied (*) for it (French Government, European commission, GS1, EPCGlobal, press, etc).

We also have supported the very first independent ONS root in Europe, the one used in the operational EPCGlobal pilot for BENEDICTA (pallets traceability in the food industry).

However there are still some important remaining questions that need to be addressed if the "EPC network" wants to be the "Internet of Things":

  • Will the ongoing “EPCGlobal standardization” be the only one to support the Internet of Things (although the most advanced)?
  1. EPCGlobal has, potentially, a wider scope than GS1 (many industries are participating) but the potential target is bigger than the only manufactured products
  1. EPCGlobal is a JV between GS1 US and GS1 WW and is, accordingly, controlled by GS1. Subscribing to EPCGlobal is not free of charge.
  2. GS1 is mostly representing FMCG companies (manufacturers, retailers, etc.) and local organizations (by countries) can be, sometimes, private. Either Public entities or consumers/citizen representatives are not directly represented within GS1.
  3. There are some raising voices asking for a full open model: some working groups (IETF, public entities) are also considering that question.

The purpose of this post is definitely not to criticize what have been done so far: what we are experiencing today should be considered as a very satisfying beginning for something bigger.

Actually, to go on in that hopeful direction, we could consider different alternatives (non-exhaustive list):

  • The opening of GS1 to some others players (consumers, public entities, etc.)
  • EPCGlobal’s cut off from GS1 to make it independent and fully representative of every involved stakeholder with a dedicated governance
  • Transfer of the EPCGlobal standards to an open source project without precisely addressing the governance issues (e.g.: sourceforge, etc.)
  • a cheaper subscription model
  • Etc.

We will not give the relevant answer right now (is SIAIGE really capable of this?) to those open questions: we just want to make concerned people paying attention to what we are observing today should be considered as a major step for a wider process.

PG

(*) see former posts on this site (mainly in French)