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.”

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