TRON Project Leader's Opinion

Ken Sakamura

Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo

In the middle of October, in Beijing, China, "RFID China Summit 2004," China's first conference on RFID solutions aimed at its leaders, was held. When you are in Japan, RFID issues are only reported in a confrontational composition, such as "there's no world standard for IC tags other than EPC," or, at best, "it's EPCglobal vs. Ubiquitous ID," but here it was like being in a different world. More than 350 executives participated in this conference, and a large number of related officials from both the U.S. and Europe crowded the venue. From China, there was an all star cast; beginning with the standardization committee, important information-related VIPs of the government all participated. However, there wasn't even one person related to EPCglobal. People such as Q.E.D. Systems' Craig Harmon and TI's Bill Allen, who have held successive postings as members of various RFID standardization committees beginning with the ISO, gave lectures, and they were filled with talk of the type you absolutely can't hear in Japan, such as "the EPC standard is not an international standard, but one standard among many," or "the EPC standard RFID cannot be made for the targeted five cents."

The organizers distributed to the participants admission tickets to which ucode-standard RFID tags manufactured by uID China were attached, and they managed registration and entering and leaving with a Ubiquitous ID Center system utilizing UCs, which won applause.

I gave an invited lecture titled "uID: Open Global Standard for RFID Tags," and I participated as a panelist in a panel discussion called "Standards: Harmonizing the Effort to a Global RFID Standard." When I asked the opinion of the Chinese leaders, they said concerning RFID standards, "As for China, we will not do anything such as unconditionally use a standard that does not accommodate our requirements." In China, this type of contention is the mainstream, and it is done as a natural thing. This is completely different from Japan, but it is reasonable. Of course, international standards are important, and countries are utilizing large numbers of U.S. standards also, so it is not a case of confronting the U.S. with a no for nothing. Whether it can be used in your own country, whether it is advantageous to your territory are the first important things. I say this is right on the mark in the extreme, and it is exceedingly natural.

Next, the uIDs that we are promoting are based on an open architecture, and the placing of importance on the locality of each country has also been evaluated. Third, I have said that "It has been confirmed that uIDs are actually working; as for the others, there aren't any cases in which we've seen them working." It is important to correctly see with your own eyes and think with your own head in this manner. It weighs on my mind that in Japan there are many of the opinion that we are not at all autonomous. In addition, when we held the The Third China-Japan-Korea ICT Ministerial Meeting in Sapporo this July, the ministers of China and Korea also came to Japan, and they decided with Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Taro Aso to conduct joint trials across the three countries centering on uIDs. On this day also, the carrying out of joint trials was reconfirmed, and it was recognized yet again that the cooperation of China, Japan, and Korea is important. In this manner, it was an extremely meaningful conference.

Furthermore, I came back after once again visiting our partner, the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In the Chinese Academy of Sciences, developments using T-Engine were progressing smoothly, and the porting of powerful middleware was being carried out. Also, in discussions with people at Peking University, I heard that a T-Engine/T-Kernel graduate school course has begun, that about 100 people have already taken it, and that they are going onto the next 100 people. This also was very significant. In Korea likewise, following Korean System Programmer (KSP) Association, we linked up with the Korean International Trade Association, and formal T-Kernel classes will begin. This year the results of popularization activities in the Asian region have been great, and it was a deeply meaningful year in which new activities began one after the other following T-Engine Application Development Center (TEADEC) in Singapore.

A large number of our partners from China, Korea, and Singapore will come to TRON SHOW 2005. The T-Engine Forum has cleared its third year, and, furthermore, the activities of the T-Engine Forum and the Ubiquitous ID Center are anticipated in the coming year. Even the number of member companies breaking through the 500 company mark has become a matter of time. Expectations for the T-Forum Forum, as the world's largest real-time open platform organization in the age of ubiquitous computing, are high, and I think that we can fully meet them.

The above opinion piece by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura appeared on page 1 of Vol. 90 of TRONWARE. It was translated and loaded onto this page with the permission of Personal Media Corporation.

Copyright © 2004 Personal Media Corporation

Copyright © 2004 Sakamura Laboratory, University Museum, University of Tokyo