The RLA has five committees. The Standards Committee is one of the busiest. Some of these committees are primarily educational. Speakers are invited to discuss important issues in our field. The Standards Committee is a working committee with three subcommittees each with a different focus.
• The RLA Smart QR Label (ANSI MH10.8.2.12N) is our primary focus;
• A new Committees is forming, focused Blockchain applications for asset tracking (think Carfax for cell phones);
• Finally, we are re-establishing a program once called the Ease of Use Roundtable.
The Ease of Use Roundtable
The Roundtable was an ad hoc service a decade or so ago that offered advice and input related to the usability and inter-operability of new products. Tony Sciarrotta, Executive Director of the RLA was an active participant of that group when he was with Philips. “It was extremely useful and helpful service,” he notes. “I would like to see it reorganize!”
As technology continues to advance in logistics, this forum will provide feed-back—essentially as a focus group for logistics technologies and processes. The concept is that the RLA will provide this service for its members who would benefit from feedback from their peers and industry experts. The RLA is the perfect resource for this type of service because of our broad and diverse membership.
This subcommittee is in the process of organizing. Its organizers are Tim Brown from Georgia Tech and Craig Smith, VP Business Development at Intrinsics Imaging. Tim Brown serves as the managing director of the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute (SCL), an Interdisciplinary Research Center at Georgia Tech and is on the RLA Advisory Board. Intrinsics Imaging has developed AI, computer vision-based sortation and classification solutions for logistics and manufacturing industries. This new subcommittee expects to offer a pilot project this spring. If you would be interested in participating in this project, you can contact Craig Smith at email@example.com.
Blockchain Applications for Asset Tracking
The second subcommittee is focused on blockchain applications for asset tracking. A block-chain is essentially a distributed write-only database. As such it is a perfect technology to apply to the refurbished products industry. Like Carfax tracks the history of ownership and repairs for automobiles, this group is developing open-source technologies that will enable even small and medium sized businesses access to platforms that will help track asset history—complete with access by consumers. This technology is being developed in conjunction with various universities around the world including Barcelona Spain and Vermont.
This subcommittee is chaired by Rohi Sukhia, founder of Tradeloop Corporation, a reseller of used components. This subcommittee is currently recruiting universities to participate in a permission-block chain. They are also finishing the development of source code that is posted on GitHub for application developers. The technology uses the RLA 12N labeling standard protocols as the user interface for the block-chain.
Smart QR Labels (12N Codes)
Our most ambitious project, of course, is our Smart QR Labels (12N codes) which we manage as an ANSI approved subcommittee. We continue to be in dialog with other related standards associations such as the Open Connectivity Foundation and the CTA working to develop applications. We are also members of the USPS Mail Technology Advisory Committee.
This open standard will change product labeling significantly by enabling the consolidation of all package labels into a single symbology. While symbology agnostic—supporting one-D and two-D formats as well as RFID and Near Field systems, our Smart QR Labels go beyond bar codes: Our tag line is one label does it all.
This committee is chaired by Dr. Ron Lembke at University of Nevada, Reno; Chair, Managerial Sciences Department. Several technology companies are active in the committee. Mr. Bruce Brown, CEO of InforMission has developed a label management and creation system that produces 12N labels, as well as the reader app which many of you downloaded at the RLA show in Las Vegas, and can be downloaded for iOS and Android at https://www.informission.com/get-12n
Paul Rupnow of Andlor Logistics Systems has adapted their warehouse management system to accept 12N codes. Eurosoft has developed a system to create digital toe tags for computer repair. Sharon Richards, co-director at Eurosoft (UK) Ltd commented, “The 12N QR code enables our customers to dynamically generate and distribute computer diagnostic reports and data erasure certificates on user-accessible QR labels: A digital “toe-tag” for tracking computer repair” Denso Wave—inventors of the QR code, provides various encryption technologies. Many other companies are active members of the committee as well. Soon we will be announcing various pilot projects that are currently being organized. Details of this ANSI approved labeling protocol standard can be found at RLA.ORG/SQRL.
This very active committee meets the second Friday of every month at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. One can join the committee on our webpage on the RLA website. Please join us.