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ATT Rolls Out Managed RFID Service

The U.S. telecom giant is partnering with BEA, Symbol and Intel to provide an offering that includes design, deployment, integration and management of RFID systems.
By Claire Swedberg
May 23, 2006AT&T has begun customer trials of a new managed RFID service. The network and managed services provider is teaming with Intel, BEA Systems and Symbol Technologies to offer an end-to-end hosted RFID service for the manufacturing, retailing, government-services and health-care sectors. The offering is intended to help businesses and agencies deploy and scale their systems easily and affordably.

The new AT&T service integrates with those the company already provides, such as network integration and consulting, IP transport, hosting, storage, managed applications and security. In September, AT&T had announced its intention to launch such an offering (see AT&T Plans Managed RFID Services).

Ebrahim Keshavarz
Several customers are already using the service in RFID trials expected to end in mid 2006. The trials involve AT&T's IP network, Internet data centers and managed services expertise, as well as AT&T's integrated Global Enterprise Management System (iGEMS), the company's network-management platform.

AT&T is offering a five-prong set of services, says Ebrahim Keshavarz, vice president of the firm's New Services Development division. These include professional services, managed LAN and wireless LAN services, a service that enables the transaction from the customer to the EPCglobal Network, a hosted EPCglobal database and a warehouse management solution.

"This is a very natural fit for us," says Keshavarz. "Once the clients know they want RFID, we are already in the middle of the solution." AT&T, he explains, already provides transmission of data. "And in many cases," he adds, "we are managing the LAN."

AT&T also has a large existing technical support staff for its customers, wherever they may be, including work centers around the world, according to Paul DiGiacomo, director of AT&T Sensor Network Services. Those work centers can provide an RFID customer with the services they need for a hosted RFID solution.

Although RFID usage is still slow to take hold in many markets, Keshavarz reports, AT&T is preparing for the technology's growth and is well poised to provide an affordable and consistent service to its RFID customers.

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