At its Techwave User Conference in Orlando, Fla., Sybase launched an RFID Early Adopter Program designed to boost the use of radio frequency tags in combination with the database company’s middleware offerings.
Sybase “will work with our early adopter customers to solve the data integration and device management challenges that organizations face when developing RFID applications today,” said Thomas Volk, executive vice president of Worldwide Field Organization at Sybase.
Along with providing developers a “sneak peek” at RFID middleware expected to be available later this year, Sybase announced a partnership with AeroScout (formerly Bluesoft).
AeroScout’s Active RFID and Real-Time Location System (RTLS) will be combined with Sybase’s RFID middleware, according to Volk.
“Customers in numerous industries are recognizing the value of real-time visibility of wireless mobile devices as well as tagged assets,” said Andris Berzins, vice president of marketing and business development at AeroScout.
“Every technology has a tipping point,” says Kathleen Schuab, vice president of marketing at Sybase. When it comes to interest in RFID, she says, “We’ve been watching this coming for some years.”
While not willing to talk specifics on the company’s planned development of RFID-based middleware, Schuab said one product will use the Sybase IQ Analytic Engine to interpret and allow enterprises to mine the data coming from RFID devices.
Sybase’s relational database products, such as Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise and SQL Anywhere Studio, will combine location data gathered by AeroScout’s monitoring of passive and active RFID devices and send the information to PDAs and other mobile gadgets.
AeroScout’s RTLS “is integrated with existing Wi-Fi networks” in enterprises, says Berzins. The system is based on the 802.11b Wi-Fi standard.
In order for RFID to accomplish more than report events, such as ‘there are so many cans of Coke on a store shelf,’ active radio frequency tags must be used. Active RFID tags include a battery, allowing for longer range and more flexibility.
In the cans of Coke example, active RFID gives an enterprise real-time tracking, allowing a store to know where a delivery truck is or a warehouse to know how much to deliver.
“That can’t be solved by passive RFID,” says Berzins.
“These systems can continuously locate and track inventory and assets, providing new-found intelligence to significantly influence an enterprise’s operational processes in real time,” Berzins said in June when AeroScout partnered with Apriso.
“Our unique capability to locate standard Wi-Fi devices and active RFID tags in challenging and dynamic physical installations, when coupled with Sybase’s intuitive applications solution for mobility, provides a strong value proposition to the customers of both companies,” said Berzins in a prepared statement.
With more and more organizations using RFID tags for inventory and tracking of goods and services, Sybase believes its data management skills can help to handle the huge stream of data flowing from the radio tags.
Oracle, IBM and others have stepped into the gap by offering solutions to manage RFID data. In March, Oracle said the Oracle Warehouse Management system would add support for RFID.
Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and the U.S. Defense Dept. are just some of the large organizations employing standard RFID tags to track inventory. In April, AeroScout teamed up with Denmark’s LegoLand to help track children visiting the amusement park.