RFID is a wireless technology that allows the easy and inexpensive allocation and detection of the identity of an item or thing. A “tag” is placed on the thing, and a reader is used to interrogate the tag. There are several different types of RFID. RAIN RFID is the brand name for passive UHF RFID.
RAIN is both an industry alliance much like the Bluetooth SIG and Wi-Fi Alliance and a technology. Membership in the Alliance is open to any organization that has an interest in passive UHF RFID.

The RAIN Alliance became a standalone organization in 2014 and maintains a close collaborative relationship with AIM.

The RAIN Alliance promotes awareness, education, networking and other initiatives to accelerate UHF RFID growth and adoption in business and consumer applications worldwide.

The RAIN RFID Alliance is an organization founded in April 2014 by Google, Intel, Impinj, Smartrac and AIM.

RAIN RFID is not one standard. The technology uses the GS1 Gen2 UHF RFID specification, incorporated into the ISO/IEC 18000-63 air interface standard. There are many other standards related to the use of RAIN depending on which data system is used with the tag. To find out more about the many standards involved see:

RAIN RFID provides the identification, location, and authentication of the thing that the tag is attached to. It can also be used to connect to sensors or actuators. Examples of applications that generate significant returns on investment using RAIN RFID are retail, logistics, healthcare, and aviation where the rapid accurate collection of information is essential for efficient business.

GS1 was the original creator of the EPC Gen 2 air interface. This work was then taken into ISO as the foundation of the ISO/IEC 18000-63 Standard. RAIN and GS1 work hand in hand on the technology and have agreed that the technology should be called RAIN RFID and the GS1 data system is the EPC Code.

Products can have RAIN RFID attached as a label, a swing tag, or embedded in them. The labeling of the item usually shows if RAIN RFID is present. The label may include the RAIN logo, the EPC symbol, or the European RFID emblem.
The information in the RAIN RFID tag is related to the item that it is attached to. This information could be a product identifier, a date, etc. There is no personal information encoded in the tag unless the tag is acting as an identification badge for a person.
Most RAIN RFID tags only contain a simple number, usually 96 or 128 binary bits (12 or 16 characters). This number is used as a lookup in a database to identify the item the tag is attached to.

The RAIN Alliance does not test for compliance. To be compliant a tag or reader should follow the GS1 Gen2 UHF RFID specification or the ISO/IEC 18000-63 air interface standard and follow the appropriate data encoding rules.

The RAIN Alliance has developed a universal interface for systems to talk to readers and then tags. This interface has been implemented by several reader manufacturers, making it easier for a solution provider or end-user to change readers in a system.

This depends on the data system that is being used. There are many systems available, and the correct one for the application should be used. It is important that the data is encoded in the correct format so that:

  • The application understands the data
  • There is no confusion or interference with tags from other applications (so called Acid RAIN) See:

Download RAIN Item Numbering and Tag Data
Download RAIN Item Numbering to Avoid Tag Interference

First download the RAIN E-Book:

Next read some of the technical documents on the web site:

Technical Documents


RAIN RFID is a name or identifier for passive UHF radio-frequency identification (RFID) products and technology that comply with the ISO/IEC 18000-63 standard and/or the GS1 EPC UHF Gen2 protocol. Branding a technology with a name is done to provide a common and recognizable identity, establish consumer and business awareness as well as to foster brand loyalty to support a sales process. Much like the term “Wi-Fi” has simplified the way we talk about technology used for unplugged internet access, and the term “Bluetooth” has simplified the way we talk about exchanging data with a mobile device, the term RAIN simplifies the way we talk about enabling visibility into the billions of unpowered assets that make up the bulk of our world.

There are many different types of RFID technology. The differences include frequencies (UHF, HF, LF), standards, and intended uses. The RAIN brand name distinguishes the GS1 EPC UHF Gen2 protocol and ISO/IEC 18000-63 standard, which use a specific passive ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID technology from other forms of RFID. It provides a clear and simple identifier for the wide variety of products and services that comply with the standard. The RAIN RFID brand simplifies the terminology and makes it easier for the end-user to understand the uses and value of the technology. Similarly, the NFC brand provides differentiation for the Ecma-340, ISO/IEC 18092 standard which uses a specific version of passive HF RFID.

As the fastest-growing segment of the RFID market with over 45 billion tag ICs shipped in 2023 alone, RAIN RFID is used in many markets and industries worldwide to identify, locate, authenticate, and engage items–providing numerous benefits to end users. While other IoT technologies bring other values, none can match RAIN RFID for cost, simplicity, and availability. The RAIN RFID name and logos associate your business and products to this rapidly growing market. The RAIN RFID brand provides a clear identifier that helps people both clarify and differentiate passive UHF technology, for use on any value chain, from other IoT and RFID technologies. It reduces confusion and provides a mechanism for creating industry awareness of, and education about, the core capabilities and value of the technology so businesses can focus on differentiating products and services from competitors.  Some of the uses of RAIN RFID include traceability in healthcare, smart manufacturing, and supply chain efficiency, to name just a few.

The RAIN RFID name and logo may be used by anyone (RAIN Alliance members and nonmembers) on marketing materials. The only limitation regarding how the RAIN RFID logos can be used is when used on products. Only RAIN Alliance members, who have submitted an application and received approval, can use the RAIN RFID logo on RAIN RFID products. For more information: contact [email protected]

The RAIN RFID brand name was adopted in 2014 when several companies working with passive UHF RFID technology began to see that the term “RFID” was being used very broadly – to represent multiple types of sensor technologies – many of which did not have the same cost-effective, transformational capabilities of passive UHF RFID. This created a concern that the expanding use and meaning of the term “RFID” might confuse the market. At the same time, these companies saw the growing importance of the technology in enabling the Internet of Things. The word RAIN—an acronym derived from RAdio frequency IdentificatioN—is intended as a nod to the link between UHF RFID and the cloud, where RFID-based data can be stored, managed and shared via the Internet.

The RAIN Alliance is the industry organization supporting the universal adoption of RAIN RFID, a wireless technology that connects billions of everyday items to the Internet of Things, enabling businesses and consumers to identify, locate, authenticate, and engage assets.

The RAIN Alliance website includes industry news, ebooks, whitepapers, customer stories and more: www.rainrfid.org.

When speaking to partners, customers, coworkers, media, investors, and more, using the RAIN RFID term at least once in conversation will help eliminate confusion and share the value of the technology. We recommend you use the term RAIN RFID instead of, or in addition to, RFID or passive UHF RFID. The more you use it, the more awareness it will create, improving communications between you and the customer. It can also simplify marketing and sales efforts.

RAIN RFID identifies, locates, authenticates and engages items using passive Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology that complies with the GS1 EPC UHF Gen2 protocol and the ISO/IEC 18000-63 standard. RAIN RFID tags cost pennies, don’t require batteries to communicate, can be read, or interrogated, at short or long range (up to 10 meters), without line-of-sight (through most materials such as cartons, boxes, wood, etc.), at high speeds and volumes (more than 1,000 tags per second). These unique capabilities make it ideally suited for use on trillions of items from apparel to pharmaceuticals to food, all along the supply chain.

In comparison, Low-Frequency (LF) RFID only provides short range (centimeters) and reads one tag at a time. High frequency (HF) RFID is commonly used for access control mobile payment or inside your passport, public transport ticket. The NFC brand refers to a particular type of HF RFID.  Active RFID uses batteries to communicate, increasing the read distance to several tens of meters.  For more information:

The RAIN Alliance Brand Usage Guide includes sample copy that can be used by anyone. And the RAIN Alliance website includes industry news, ebooks, whitepapers, customer stories and more: www.rainrfid.org.

You can create RAIN RFID marketing materials, share both internally and externally, and update your website. If a customer is unfamiliar with RAIN RFID, share information and evangelize. These educational materials provide you with a great reason to contact a customer.  RAIN Alliance resources can be found here.

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