Technical jargon develops around any new technology, and RFID is no exception. Some of these terms are quite useful, serving as a convenient way to communicate concepts needed to describe other concepts that will appear in the pages that follow. These terms include:

This term describes a procedure for reducing a group of things to a stream of things that can be handled one at a time. For example, a subway turnstile is a device for singulating a group of people into a stream of individuals so that the system may count them or ask them for access tokens.

This same singulation is necessary when communicating with RFID tags, because if there is no mechanism to enable the tags to reply separately, many tags will respond to a reader at once and may disrupt communications.

Singulation also implies that the reader learns the individual IDs of each tag, thus enabling inventories. Inventories of groups of tags are just singulation that is repeated until no unknown tags respond.

This term describes the set of procedures that prevent tags from interrupting each other and talking out of turn. Whereas singulation is about identifying individual tags, anti-collision is about both regulating the timing of responses and finding ways of randomizing those responses so that a reader can understand each tag amidst the plethora of responses.

An identity is a name, number, or address that uniquely refers to a thing or place. "Malaclypse the Elder" is an identity referring to a particular person. "221b Baker Street London NW1 6XE, Great Britain" is an identity referring to a particular place, just as "urn:epc:id:sgtin:00012345.054322.4208" is an identity referring to a particular widget

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