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Microsoft Broadens RFID Integration

The company's latest BizTalk RFID software aims to foster management and integration of RF-based applications across the enterprise.
Microsoft this week unwrapped a beta version of BizTalk RFID Mobile for developing mobile applications in a variety of business sectors.

The new platform contains multiple, compatible technologies and development tools to help customers develop applications for existing systems, Microsoft said Thursday. Its partners for BizTalk RFID Mobile include Intermec Technologies, Motorola, Psion Teklogix, Samsung, and Unitech, according to Burley Kawasaki, director of product management in the Connected Systems Division at Microsoft.

While the new RFID development environment is in private beta now, it's expected to be generally available by the end of the year.

Microsoft also unveiled Thursday the BizTalk RFID Standards Pack, for customers to seamlessly integrate their RFID solutions with Electronic Product Code (EPC) global ratified standards, including Tag Data Translator (TDT) and Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) standards.

"Microsoft BizTalk RFID Mobile underscores the company's long-term commitment to deliver extensive service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) capabilities as part of the overall Microsoft application platform," the vendor said, in a statement.

BizTalk Server 2006 R2, Microsoft's SOA and BPM technology, handles certain RFID functions, including device management, data filtering and business rules, electronic data interchange, and is interoperable with line-of-business adapters. BizTalk RFID Mobile used jointly with BizTalk Server 2006 R2 extends RFID business processes to Windows CE and Windows Mobile 5.0 applications, the vendor said.

These sorts of hybrid combinations are a natural for Microsoft and its customers, according to John Fontanella, VP of research at AMR Research. "The ability to operate at the edge in real time opens up opportunities that can only further enhance RFID's value," he said, in a statement.