Microsoft, Intel Tagged For RFID Project

Determined to lead the market for RFID products, Microsoft  is teaming with Intel  to offer business customers a platform that will enable RFID transactions on various devices.

The companies will build a platform out of Intel’s UHF RFID Transceiver R1000 reader chip and RFID Transceiver Interface with the Microsoft BizTalk RFID device-management and event processing software.

Microsoft announced BizTalk RFID last year as a complement to its BizTalk Server 2006.

Now, the software giant is looking to advance its RFID position with the help of chip buddy Intel and some Web services .

RFID  is a snowballing technology for automatic identification, relying on storing and retrieving data using RFID tags or transponders. Many high-tech companies have been experimenting with ways to add RFID capabilities to their hardware and software, preparing for what analysts have said will be a multi-billion-dollar market for RFID tools.

Microsoft and Intel are two of these hopeful vendors.

“RFID remains a bit of an island unto itself,” Steve Sloan, senior product manager in Microsoft’s Connected Systems Division, told, noting that RFID was inaccessible for all except who could build custom, or expensive, systems.

With RFID tag and reader prices coming down, products such as BizTalk RFID and the Intel R1000 reader processor and Tranceiver Interface can help users execute tasks via RFID on their devices.

“Our goal was … to make a platform to build apps on RFID and extend them to devices. The way we built this platform assumes that RFID will become the de facto standard in many verticals, including retail, manufacturing and health care.”

In that vein, Anush Kumar, product manager for Biztalk RFID at Microsoft, said BizTalk RFID now features “plug and play” services for various RFID devices via an embedded provider for the Intel platform and Web services for interacting with devices and tag reads.

Kumar described the ease-of-use factor of the plug and play services as “like plugging in a mouse.”

The software also boasts new management tools to control devices and deploy RFID business processes, integration with Microsoft’s SQL Server for data management and business intelligence, and Microsoft Operations Manager to monitor and troubleshoot deployments. There is also “out-of-the-box” integration with Microsoft Dynamics applications.

For an increasingly mobile experience, future iterations of Microsoft’s RFID platform will run on Windows CE-embedded devices and interface with the Intel RFID Transceiver Interface, enabling device discovery, provisioning, security, patch management and monitoring.

BizTalk RFID will be introduced to market in the third quarter of this year with the release of BizTalk Server 2006 R2, which just went to beta 2.

Microsoft and Intel announced the news at the RFID Journal Live conference this week in Orlando. Motorola also had news at the show, announcing a strategic RFID deal with labeling and ticketing product provider Avery Dennison.

In the agreement, Avery Dennison will supply EPCglobal Gen 2 RFID tags to Motorola, helping the handset giant to fulfill its business customers’ demand for its portfolio of custom RFID tags, including its airline baggage tags and tags for asset tracking.

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