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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
Aiding AT&T in this effort is Intel, which is providing professional services and standardization. "We are working with them to develop standard architectures and standard ways of deployment," Keshavarz says. AT&T is also partnering with Intel Solution Services, the company's professional services organization.

In addition, BEA is providing its WebLogic RFID Edge Server, a piece of middleware that will link customers with AT&T's network. The WebLogic RFID Edge Server performs data scrubbing and integrates with an ERP system from SAP or Oracle. Symbol Technologies is providing the fixed and mobile UHF interrogators (readers).

Paul DiGiacomo
"We think that with these three key partners, we have a pretty compelling solution," Keshavarz says.

The trials will last 90 to 120 days and are being undertaken by a variety of companies. In one case, says DiGiacomo, a Fortune 500 international manufacturer is piloting a large-scale standard and repeatable approach using Gen 2 tags that send data to the hosted AT&T RFID system. The company, which he did not name, has already completed several small RFID pilots and is looking for one large hosted solution for its worldwide sites.

Another company, new to RFID, is seeking to use the technology to track its inventory of electrical devices for offices, according to DiGiacomo. In a second phase, the company hopes to integrate the system with GPS and cellular data communication devices to track which driver is in a particular van, what kinds of equipment are in his truck and where he is, so that the correct driver can be sent to the proper service call.

AT&T, which became a member of EPCglobal US in August 2005, intends to provide a standards-based approach to its RFID solution. This will remove variances, lower costs and increase quality, Keshavarz explains. "This is contrasted with the custom systems integration business—where every process and project might be slightly different and the solution is built for an audience of one—and makes it more expensive, harder to predict the quality ahead of time and scales only with additional human labor," he says.

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