The Electronic Product Code(EPC) forms the basis for globally unique product identification and is intended to replace the European Article Number( EAN). The EPC code, which is stored in RFID tags, can be used to individually identify up to 17 billion different products. The EPC code is valid worldwide and can be used to link product and delivery data in logistics and merchandise management systems.
The EPC code has a range of 96 bits, consisting of 8 bits for the header, 28 bits for the EPC manager, 24 bits for the object class and 34 bits for the serial number. Here, the EPC Manager characterizes the organizational unit that maintains the number ranges of the following data fields. The 24 bits of the Object Class refer to the product type and are used for the unique identification of commercial goods. The number must be unique within the number range of the respective EPC manager, and the 34-bit serial number is used to uniquely identify the product within the Object Class.
EPC identities have been defined by the European Article Number (EAN) and the Uniform Code Council( UCC) to identify goods, services, capital goods, packaging materials and logistical details. The EPC identities are entered in the data fields of the EPC Manager, the Object Class and the Serial Number. There are six different EPC identities: Global Trade Identity Number( GTIN), Serial Shipping Container Code( SSCC), Global Individual Asset Identifier( GIAI), Serial Global Location Number (SGLN), Global Returnable Asset Identifier( GRAI), Global Location Number( GLN) and Unique Identifier ( UID).
In the context of the Internet of Things( IoT) and the IPv6 protocol used therein, the 96- digit EPC code must be converted to the 128-bit IPv6 address. This allows every single smart object marked with EPC code to communicate with every other one.