Standards Battles Killed My Puppy
from the woof-woof-woof dept
There’s always quite a bit of talk about standards battles in the wireless realm, and whether it’s with technologies like UWB or WiMAX, the bottom line is almost without exception the same: some company wants its proposal to succeed not because it’s the best technology, but because it uses intellectual property they control. Typically, the only victims of these fights are consumers left waiting for new gadgets and features, but one wireless standards battle has left some real victims: pets. Millions of American dogs, cats and other pets have been implanted with RFID transponders that are used to reunite them with their owners should they be lost, but with — you guessed it — two differing standards, meaning that the chips in some pets that are based on a global standard can’t be read by a number of American shelters and vets. Equipment based on the US standard they use costs twice as much as that based on the international standard, and features encryption that critics allege serves no real purpose than to tie customers in to one database and inflate costs. The fight’s even forced one pet food company to withdraw its pledge to donate 30,000 scanners — enough for the entire US — because of lawsuit fears. It’s hard to see any benefit of the proprietary US standard here, but like so many of these pointless fights, just settling on one or the other would be an improvement.