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Microsoft Announces RFID Plans

At this week's U Connect Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Microsoft announced that next year's release of its BizTalk Server 2006 R2 software will include new functionality targeted specifically at the integration of RFID within an enterprise. The announcement is the most major one Microsoft has made with respect to RFID in almost a year.
Jun 08, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 8, 2006—At this week's U Connect Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Microsoft announced that next year's release of its BizTalk Server 2006 R2 software will include new functionality targeted specifically at the integration of RFID within an enterprise. The announcement is the most major one Microsoft has made with respect to RFID in almost a year (see New Microsoft Release Aims to Democratize RFID).

Scheduled for availability during the first half of 2007, the BizTalk release is aimed at "enabling customers to extend the reach of their business processes." Among its EDI, AS2, and XML features, the new RFID functionality will allow enterprises to develop and manage their deployments more simply. Reduction in the complexity of managing RFID devices is a key aim of the product, according to the release. Through a technique called "device abstraction", Microsoft claims BizTalk will enable a plug-and-play architecture for RFID deployments. Also, its open APIs will give developers the flexibility to customize the product for vertical solutions. Other features include an event process engine that allows customers to create business rules based on RFID-triggered events, tight integration with Microsoft's Visual Studio package for developers, and standards support and high extensibility.

A slew of RFID vendors made their own announcements of support for Microsoft's products, among them: Alien, Cactus Commerce, G2 Microsystems, Intermec, Paxar, Printronix, and Symbol.

Only Microsoft could make headlines for a product release planned more than six months away. And even that timeline is generous given the company's notorious track record of product release delays. But its dominance in the software world causes everyone to take note when it announces plans. How committed Microsoft is to RFID is unclear. This week's announcement is decidedly light on details; pricing and licensing specifics remain to-be-determined as Microsoft vets potential customer and partner feedback. The industry will have to wait until the first half of 2007 (at the earliest) to find out how serious the company really is.

Read the announcement from Microsoft
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