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Intel and Oracle Form Alliance Around RFID and Sensors

Oracle and Intel announced yesterday that they will work together to develop systems that manage data generated by RFID and sensors at the enterprise edge.
Tags: Sensors
Apr 13, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

April 13, 2005—Oracle and Intel announced yesterday at RFID Journal Live! that they will work together to develop systems that manage data generated by RFID and sensors at the enterprise edge. Using a "common service-oriented (SOE) framework," the companies hope to facilitate management of the anticipated data torrent coming initially from RFID and growing even more later as sensor technology takes hold. The problem is not simply accommodating all the new data; it must also be transformed into actionable information that can be leveraged to make business process decisions. Director of strategy and planning for Intel Solutions Market Development Group, Tom Gibbs, said, "As companies deploy RFID and sensor networks, they need to be able to handle vast amounts of real-time data along with new business process if they want to realize the maximum ROI... The [Oracle/Intel] solution will help customers make sense of the raw data and turn it into relevant product information that they can act upon as events happen in real time." The driving motive behind the alliance is the fact that RFID and sensors will spur demand for both data storage and processing power. With Oracle being a leader in the former and Intel a leader in the latter, the pairing is an obvious match.

That two technology powerhouses have partnered around RFID and sensors is telling in a number of ways. First, it attests to the sustained interest in RFID from all levels of the technology food chain. At the bottom, startups, venture capital, and would-be RFID integrators and consultants have flocked to the space, while at the top, giants like Oracle, Intel, IBM, HP, Microsoft, Sun, and SAP have also dived in. But more interestingly, the notable inclusion of sensors demonstrates that Oracle and Intel see as much (or more) opportunity in sensor technology as in RFID. In fact, they probably see RFID adoption over the next five years as generating the infrastructure foundation for sensor technology in the succeeding years. After all, if enterprises roll out RFID edge solutions now and design their systems with an eye to data management, processing, and (most importantly) scalability, they will be much more ready to buy sensors when the time comes. Hans Mulder, Intel's associate director of research (and sensor technology bull), said as much last year at an invitation-only RFID symposium: "RFID is the stepping-stone to sensor networks."

IBM's take is similar. When in September of last year it was widely reported that the company had committed to a five-year quarter-billion dollar "investment in RFID," the money was actually for both RFID and sensor technology; indeed, the investment was manifested in the new IBM division called Sensor and Actuator Solutions, whose homepage opens with the line "RFID is the beginning."

See the Intel and Oracle "Strategic Alliance" site
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