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Vendor-Neutral Middleware Debuts
Systems integrator CapTech introduces TagsWare, an application for filtering data from a range of readers and feeding it to back-end applications.
Apr 21, 2004—Systems integration and design firm CapTech Ventures has released TagsWare, a new middleware application that can process information from RFID readers made by a range of vendors and relay that information to back-end systems, eliminating the need to deploy vendor-specific middleware for each type of reader deployed. Like OATsystems and other vendors offering similar middleware solutions, CapTech is looking to help companies to process the flood of data that RFID systems will generate and to integrate that data with their back-office systems.
“The benefit of the solution is that businesses can now deploy various types of readers and tags in pilot scenerios more easily, and then determine which brand works best for the company,” says Sandy Williamson, founder and CEO of CapTech Ventures, which is based in Richmond, Va. In addition, Williamson says, if a company decides to change the type of reader or tag it’s using, TagsWare will still be able to identify, process and relay information to enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management system (WMS) and other back-end applications without the need for additional programming.
TagsWare, a Java-based solution, can handle both EPC Class 1 tags and 13.56 MHz TagIT tags from Texas Instruments, and works with RFID readers from Alien Technology, ThingMagic/Sensormatic, Matrics and Texas Instruments. The company says it’s developing support for readers from other vendors, as well.
The TagsWare application can be configured to encapsulate data from any number of readers into one or more data fields on the TagsWare application. For example, a field could include data garnered from one antenna from a reader or from a group of several readers. TagsWare doesn’t require a back-end application to understand the exact configuration of the readers deployed in order to process the information. Because of this ability, TagsWare can allow a company’s RFID network administrator to set rules about what to do with the tag-related data that’s received. The data can be filtered, duplicated, and routed so that multiple enterprise applications can receive it without requiring the administrator to perform a technical integration between the enterprise applications.
The middleware can interface with enterprise applications that use J2EE, Microsoft .Net, Web Services, XML, RMI, FTP, Sockets, JDBC, or text file platforms, and with custom systems integration work, TagsWare can also be configured to interface with enterprise applications using proprietary communications protocols.
CapTech is currently piloting its technology with a major healthcare provider and says it has several other companies interested in its product. Most of its discussions are with software vendors and RFID software and hardware providers, according to Williamson. “We’re also talking with companies that are looking for unique applications of RFID-technology software,” he says. “By using TagsWare they can jump-start themselves at a lower price point without having to purchase an entire warehouse management solution,” Williamson says.
TagsWare costs $150 per RFID reader antenna, in addition to an annual licensing fee of 15% of the total cost for technical support.
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