RealTime IT News

BEA Makes RFID Pact With HP

BEA Systems and HP announced a strategic partnership this week that combines their radio frequency ID (RFID) talents.

Under terms of the agreement, HP will offer BEA's WebLogic RFID products as part of its manufacturing, consulting, integration and support services that target supply-chain problems across multiple industry segments.

In addition, the agreement will provide RFID solutions geared toward retail operations and asset management, and RFID compliance and tagging solutions for suppliers.

In retail, these solutions might use RFID tags to track the flow of goods from a manufacturer to a store's shelves. On the manufacturing floor, similar systems can be used to keep tabs on expensive equipment.

Wai Wong, BEA executive vice president of products, said in a statement that BEA and HP's one-two RFID punch will help businesses meet service-level agreements, ensure compliance and drive a transformation towards a demand-driven supply chain.

The worldwide market for RFID systems and services will grow from about $2.7 billion this year to $12.3 billion in 2010, according to RFID research firm IDTechEx.

Up to 1.3B RFID tags will be sold this year and used to pinpoint everything from airline baggage to a case of green beans sitting in a food warehouse.

Mega-retailer Wal-Mart is perhaps the biggest retail user of RFID tagging in the U.S., launching a major pilot program a few years ago and eventually requiring hundreds of its top suppliers to jump on the RFID bandwagon.

So far, the ride has been successful, resulting in a 16 percent reduction in out-of-stock items and a reduction in excess inventory, according to a study conducted by the RFID Research Center at the University of Arkansas.

Wal-Mart's new Ford last week reaffirmed the company's commitment to RFID tagging stating the company would continue to work with suppliers to eventually tag all items offered in its stores.

Most recently, the company tested UHF Gen 2 tags on its pharmaceutical products, which could be read in water or on metal, he claimed in a statement.

"I view RFID as a strategy that offers tremendous competitive advantage," Rollin Ford, executive vice president and CIO, said in a statement. "There will be no slowing down."

Wal-Mart uses BEA Systems' WebLogic applications software, as do a handful of other major retailers, including Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Gap, Coles Myer, Kmart, and Target.