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HP and BEA Systems Partner Around RFID

Hewlett-Packard and infrastructure software provider BEA Systems this week formalized a partnership to provide RFID solutions to global enterprises. HP will contribute its consulting, integration, support, and manufacturing services to the relationship, and BEA its WebLogic software platform.
Apr 20, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

April 20, 2006—Hewlett-Packard and infrastructure software provider BEA Systems this week formalized a partnership to provide RFID solutions to global enterprises. HP will contribute its consulting, integration, support, and manufacturing services to the relationship, BEA its WebLogic software platform. RFID Update spoke with Frank Lanza, HP's worldwide director of RFID services, about the arrangement.

The types of deployments for which the companies can provide solutions run the gamut, from compliance to supply chain visibility to cold chain monitoring to anti-counterfeiting applications to improved inventorying and goods availability. According to the announcement, together "the two companies' offerings can enable customers to integrate high volumes of RFID data into existing enterprise processes and applications while building new composite applications." Lanza highlighted the resources that HP and BEA can jointly bring to bear on a given RFID deployment, resources that serve as competitive differentiation, allowing the companies to perform deployments of considerable complexity and size. "You need to have the scope and scale [of HP] if you're going to deploy 4,000 readers in an enterprise," said Lanza. HP has installed RFID at 26 of its worldwide facilities, as well as at 30 client sites. It has been working with BEA and the WebLogic platform for a number of projects. Recall that in October, BEA bought middleware provider ConnecTerra (see BEA Systems Acquires ConnecTerra).

Lanza spoke to the increasing variety of applications for which HP clients are using RFID, citing asset tracking specifically. "When we started implementing RFID externally," he said, "we were helping CPG [consumer packaged goods] manufacturers with EPC compliance problems." Eventually, though, clients started having high-value reusable object tracking demands. "We've moved from a lot of EPC work to non-EPC work and asset tracking," said Lanza.

While formalized partnerships are commonly the subject of press releases, the HP-BEA partnership is unique because of the size of the companies involved. There are relatively few competitors that can match the scope and scale to which Lanza referred, with IBM and BT the obvious exceptions. Research firm IDTechEx of Cambridge, England, recently noted that the RFID market is one fragmented across many small providers. Major enterprises interested in large-scale RFID deployments are unlikely to contract with such small firms, preferring instead experienced, global firms with unquestionably sound resources. See IDTechEx on Where Profit Exists in RFID.

Read the announcement from Hewlett-Packard
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