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iAnywhere Puts RFID ... Anywhere

Sybase subsidiary iAnywhere Solutions announced today RFID Anywhere, a platform that lets businesses plan, develop, deploy and manage radio frequency identification networks and applications.

RFID uses tags containing unique serial numbers and readers that automatically log the numbers when a tag comes within reach. The serial numbers can be matched to a database for use in identifying and tracking goods and equipment.

RFID Anywhere operates as a network service, integrating into existing corporate infrastructure via a service-oriented architecture . It includes connectors and controllers for commonly used RFID hardware components. The software manages RFID and other data collection and control devices, such as barcode readers and printers, as well as sensors and other devices in machine-to-machine networks.

"Our main goal was to integrate RFID technology and all the peripherals you use with RFID," said lead architect Carlos Arteaga. "We're putting all these pieces together to get the application to work, then bringing the data into existing applications."

According to Forrester Research, middleware will increasingly play a role in bridging the gap between tag technology and corporate systems.

RFID Anywhere aims to be easy to use, said iAnywhere senior director of marketing Steve Robb.

"It abstracts away the complexities of dealing with both readers and the broad range of evolving standards like ISO and electronic product codes ," he said. "So it lets the developer or integrator focus on the business logic at hand."

The software adds intelligence, filtering and some edge processing, both within the RFID network and back to headquarters and enterprise applications. It supports multiple standards and protocols, letting them be managed through a unified interface.

The software was built from the ground up by iAnywhere, Robb said. And it will be sold through Sybase channels, although Robb said the company also plans to forge partnerships with systems integrators.

IDC analyst Richard Dean said middleware is a key ingredient of RFID implementations. "It's not just about the tags and the readers," he said. "It has a lot to do with middleware and what it's capable of providing: aggregation of data and bringing together applications within the organization." Sybase is an IDC client.

According to Dean, iAnywhere brings a deep understanding of wireless and mobility solutions to RFID. "It's the understanding that business processes aren't static any longer."

Arteaga said there's plenty of synergy between RFID Anywhere and other iAnywhere products, such as SQL Anywhere Studio, which manages data and synchronizes it between enterprise systems and mobile devices.

"We can provide a mobile link to the tag world that allows mobile devices collecting data via RFID to send it back to the RFID network wirelessly," he said.