RealTime IT News

Sun To Acquire Waveset For ID Management

Sun Microsystems Tuesday said it would acquire a privately owned company that specializes in identity management software, especially for radio frequency identification tags (RFID).

The agreement to purchase Austin, Texas-based Waveset Technologies is part of Sun's concentrated efforts to build its Sun Java Enterprise System and its Identity Management portfolio. The goal is to centralize and automate the management of any entity ranging from employee, customer and partner identities to devices and RFID tags, across and between enterprises.

Sun has also taken a strong stance on identity management, especially with RFID, which the company calls a "game changer".

The technology lets manufacturers, retailers, logistics providers, and other organizations "tag" physical goods with tiny radio transponders that can then be used to identify the goods without having to visually inspect them. Applications for the technology include automatic inventory management for retailers and manufacturers, improved supply chain efficiency for logistics companies and their customers, and better tracking of goods to reduce theft and loss.

Waveset has been working on the software management side of the equation through its secure identity management offerings like Waveset Lighthouse Provisioning Manager, an automated provisioning solution; Waveset Lighthouse Password Manager, a self-service password management solution; Waveset Lighthouse Identity Broker; an identity profile management solution; and Waveset Directory Master, a directory management solution.

The strategy has proved successful for Waveset, whose customers include 7-Eleven, Circuit City, Kraft Foods, Merrill Lynch and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun says the plan is to take Waveset's products and mix them in with Sun's Java Enterprise offerings and make them compatible with other key components such as Java System Directory Server, Java System Meta Directory Server and Java System Identity Server, as well as the Java Desktop System and Java Card technology.

"Security, access and automation are critical enablers of a shared services world," said Sun executive vice president Jonathan Schwartz, who plans to manage Waveset as part of Sun's Software organization. "This acquisition adds another compelling advantage to the Java Enterprise System."

Similarly, Sun said Waveset executives and staff will play important roles in its identity related initiatives because of their extensive knowledge in this area. The all-cash transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

Identity management has always been a big thing with Sun. The company recently launched its "Java Card S" program to develop even more synergies between its Java Card and other secure hardware such as SIM chips.

The company is planning for multi factor identification on PCs and how to tie in SIMs as a kind of secondary authentication through a Bluetooth connection.

"This year, you will see SIMs provided by carriers for multi-authentications," Schwartz said predicting Sun would announce additional support for Java Cards and SIM chips at the company's show in Berlin next month.

The company also has wide reaching plans to offer hardware, software and services that enable enterprises to link into the Elecronic Product Code (EPN) Network. Earlier this month, the company said it will soon open a testing center in Dallas to take advantage of Wal-Mart's RFID standards compliance testing. The problem with identity management say Sun execs is that companies who deal with RFID tags or any type of device that tracks non-computer products will have an explosion of information jamming the network.

"First we started connecting to computers. Now we are connecting to people. In the future is a network of everything," Sun CTO Greg Papadopoulos said during a recent briefing with reporters. " The consequence of that is that there is a greater demand being placed on servers as information increases exponentially."