Symbol Technologies, in cooperation with IBM and Royal Philips Electronics, this week demonstrated interoperability between radio frequency identification (RFID) tags based on the new EPC Generation 2 standard and older Gen 1 tags.

Interoperability is a key factor in allowing retailers and suppliers to transition from Gen 1 tags to Gen 2. The demo incorporated Symbol’s new XR400 fixed RFID reader with IBM’s WebSphere RFID software platform. Philips is a Symbol Electronic Product Code Gen 2 technology partner.

“We just wanted to demonstrate to the world that Gen 2 is real,” said Alan Melling, Symbol’s senior director of business development.

Robert Mayberry, vice president of IBM sensor and actuator solutions, echoed this sentiment.

"Our collaboration with Symbol on this demo will prove the viability of Gen 2 and spur customer adoption," Mayberry said in a statement. "By combining our core strengths in RFID deployment, Symbol and IBM can help customers use RFID technologies to realize the efficiency and visibility benefits they are seeking. We formed this alliance in 2001 and RFID is a great opportunity to extend our relationship to deliver future solutions to our customers."

In addition, Symbol unveiled the DC600, a packaged RFID reader solution for portals that Melling said can be installed in less than 30 minutes. Previously, it has taken five to eight hours to install typical portal readers, he said.

Last week, Symbol announced that the XR400 would support Microsoft’s Windows CE operating system.