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VeriSign To Operate Root Directory For Electronic Product Code Network

EPCglobal Inc., the industry organization overseeing development of U.S. standards for radio-frequency identification technology, announced today that it has selected VeriSign Inc. to operate the root directory of RFID product codes.

VeriSign, which made its name in security software and services, also operates the .com and .net registries for the Internet, under contract by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

The root directory for the Electronic Product Code Network will assign distinct product codes to products tagged with radio-frequency IDs based on the EPC standards. The EPC Network is offered to companies, such as manufacturers, on a subscription basis, though prices haven't yet been disclosed.

The EPC Network will run on VeriSign's Atlas, or Advanced Transaction Lookup and Signaling System, infrastructure, a database supporting the .net and .com registries that can look up a domain name and return an IP address in less than 10 milliseconds, says Jon Brendsel, director of EPC Network Services at VeriSign. Atlas already handles up to 10 billion lookups a day, but has capacity well in excess of 100 billion lookups, Brendsel says.

Such scalability was a major factor in finding a vendor to operate the EPC Network's root directory. "That's where this became an obvious fit for us," says Sue Hutchinson, product manager of EPCglobal. "Even if we start [RFID tagging] at the case and pallet level, we are looking at hundreds of thousands if not millions of cases and pallets moving around the supply chain on a daily basis."