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U.K. Software Startup Aims to Simplify RFID Deployments

RedBite, a company founded by members of the Auto-ID Lab at Cambridge, is offering a track-and-trace platform designed to be highly configurable and easy to deploy.
By Mark Roberti
Jan 03, 2011Members of the Auto-ID Lab at Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, have formed a company called RedBite Solutions, which has developed track-and-trace software designed to be highly configurable and easy to deploy in conjunction with radio frequency identification or other automatic-identification technologies.

"We tried to understand why the RFID adoption rate was slower than expected despite hardware costs coming down and performance improving," says Alex Wong, a former associate director of the lab, and currently RedBite's CEO. (The company's other founders include Professor Duncan McFarlane and Alan Thorne, both of whom are still on staff at the Cambridge Auto-ID Lab as directors.) "We concluded that it was due to complex software integration and other bespoke software components that were too expensive to develop. We decided, therefore, to create a track-and-trace platform that would make RFID deployments easier and less expensive in total-cost terms for users—one that could be customized depending on what you are tracking, without the need for additional custom coding."

Wong says the software has the ability to manage RFID readers, determine the location of an object fitted with an RFID tag and incorporate business logic necessary to turn RFID data into actionable information.

The company, which was formed in stealth mode in 2006 and received some initial funding in 2007, has developed several applications. RedBox is a standalone, generic track-and-trace platform designed to streamline the collection of RFID data and convert it into information useful to businesses. RedBox filters, logs and manages data, providing basic business logic for decision-making. The RedBox platform can be extended by adding specific modules, named RedLog, RedWarehouse and RedAsset.

All of the products are cross-industry solutions for tracking items in a supply chain, and can be used as a standalone application or integrated with existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. RedLog is a logistics application for tracking outbound and inbound goods across multiple sites along the supply chain, from factories to warehouses to distribution centers to retail stores. RedWarehouse manages goods for storage and shipments within warehouses, while RedAsset is an asset-management application configured for various usages, including the management of spare parts, tools and mobile equipments.

When used as standalone solutions, RedLog, RedWarehouse and RedAsset enable users to drag and drop icons in a graphical user interface to customize workflows. The products handle common business tasks. RedLog, for instance, automates inbound and outbound processes, generates advance shipping notices (ASNs) and acknowledges when pallets have been received at a destination. RedWarehouse handles put-away and picking processes. RedAsset, which is focused primarily on store management, handles goods receipts, automated goods issue, stock checks and so forth. The solutions can all be configured to trigger alerts, such as when products arrive or assets move.

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