by CIO Staff

Wireless World to Get Simpler in E.U.

Dec 14, 20063 mins

The European Commission is harmonizing radio frequency bands across the European Union in order to spur use of a wide range of wireless devices such as wireless computer keyboards, headphones and garage door openers, it said Thursday.

Frequency bands will soon be harmonized throughout the E.U., making life simpler, as anyone in Europe will be able to use the same short-range wireless product anywhere in the union and manufacturers need make only one product for the whole internal market, the commission said in a statement.

The commission hopes the move will decrease the price of wireless devices.

A parallel move aims to harmonize frequencies for radio frequency identification (RFID) devices too. These electronic tags are increasingly used in businesses such as retail and logistics, tracking of goods and people, security and alarm systems.

“From garage door openers to baby monitors, alarms and wireless medical implants, short-range devices affect us all, from the very young to the very old,” said Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for the information society.

“That’s why these commission decisions will help create a single market for wireless devices, stimulate their uptake, boost industry in this vital sector and provide benefits to all Europeans.”

Short-range wireless devices are often portable mass market products that can be operated without a license in all member states. Once the radio frequencies are harmonized, consumers will not have to check whether specific equipment can be used in each member state, the commission said, claiming that this will spur demand, reduce production costs for manufacturers and encourage new innovative devices and applications.

A recent commission study estimated the value of the market for these devices to be 25 billion euros (US$33 billion) by 2009.

The retail sector is likely to be the main first user to increase the efficiency in the flow of goods and storage by using RFID technology. The commission believes the value of RFID services and equipment market in the union’s 15 core members will reach 4 billion euros by 2010.

For more information on the European Union’s radio spectrum policy, go here.

The two decisions on harmonization of the radio spectrum use by short-range devices and for RFID devices in the ultra high frequency (UHF) band can be found here.

A study on legal, economic and technical aspects of ’collective use’ of spectrum in the European Community (2006) can be found here.

By Paul Meller, IDG News Service (Brussels Bureau)

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