Making Strides In RFID - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications
04:49 PM

Making Strides In RFID

Vendors launch services and software to help companies realize the potential of the technology and meet their customers' demands.

January 2005, the deadline Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has set for its top suppliers to implement radio-frequency-identification technologies for tracking pallets of goods through the supply chain, isn't all that far away. That's got some companies thinking about how they'll integrate the components of an RFID deployment and prioritize investments in those areas to drive the most value out of these rollouts.

At the Electronic Product Code Symposium in Chicago on Monday, IBM will launch a service that combines consulting and integration help for deploying RFID microchips and related equipment from vendors such as Alien Technology, Intermec Technologies, Matrics, and Royal Philips Electronics. The service will also help businesses integrate data from the tags with internal and trading partners' systems. The offering is based on IBM's WebSphere Business Integrator running on WebSphere Application Server, DB2 Information Integrator, Tivoli Access Manager, and WebSphere Portal Server.

The service includes developing a customized business case and assessing end-to-end costs and benefits of an RFID rollout. The retail industry could cut product theft dramatically using RFID, saving millions of dollars annually by tagging and tracing items from the warehouse to shipping and store shelves, says Sean Campbell, worldwide RFID leader for IBM's business-consulting services. Software vendor Apriso Corp. will reveal that it's teaming with Matrics to provide a production-automation, inventory-management, and asset-management system using Apriso's software and Matrics' RFID components. The two companies have worked with an unnamed Fortune 100 company to deploy the RFID systems, says Adam Bartkowski, president and chief executive of Apriso.

Bartkowski says the Apriso RFID system, called FlexNET 2003, is a Web-services-based application that allows for registration of the position and other data elements associated with an RFID-tagged product.

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