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Sybase Middleware Expands Support for RTLS, Sensor Networks

Version 3.0 of RFID Anywhere is designed to act as a central warehouse for all types of RFID data, while adding business context to that data.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Dec 06, 2006Sybase's iAnywhere Solutions subsidiary has released a new version of its RFID Anywhere software to enable support for a number of real-time location system (RTLS) platforms. This new software will also provide a means of importing sensory data, such as temperature information, collected by active or semi-passive tags.

"Our goal has always been to enable intelligent sensor networks," says Martyn Mallick, director of RFID and mobile solutions for iAnywhere. The majority of iAnywhere's customers are using RFID Anywhere to collect passive RFID tag data for small-scale supply chain applications. Some of the company's customers are beginning to scale their RFID systems up from basic slap-and-ship, mandate-compliance efforts to large-scale systems. In addition to tracking products with passive RFID tags, Mallick says, such systems also include asset- or personnel-tracking capability using active tags or cold-chain applications that integrate environmental data. As these firms scale up their RFID systems, they need a software platform that will act as a central warehouse for all types of RFID data and can also add business context to that data. Earlier versions of the RFID Anywhere software have been linked to RTLS systems, such as those offered by AeroScout or Ekahau, for custom deployments. RFID Anywhere Version 3.0, however, includes built-in support for active asset positioning and sensor-based RFID networks.

Martyn Mallick
Mallick says that one of his company's target markets for the upgraded software platform is health care, because many of the firms that have already deployed asset- or personnel-tracking systems using active tags want a central place not only to collect that tag data—along with data collected from passive tags or bar codes on assets or consumables—but also to add business context to all that data. For example, he says, RFID Anywhere 3.0 could provide hospital staff with the location of tagged, high-value assets such as intravenous pumps, the inventory levels of certain types of tubing or syringes required when using the pumps, and a list of the location and qualifications of staff available to use them.

RFID Anywhere 3.0 utilizes application protocol interfaces (APIs) to pull location and product or personnel data from the software platforms used in combination with hardware from active tags and RTLS vendors AeroScout, Ekahau, RF Code, Identec Solutions andAxcess.

The upgraded software also supports more types of mobile RFID hardware. Specifically, it supports forklift-mounted RFID readers and PCMCIA cards enabling handheld computers to act as readers. Earlier versions of the software did not support these devices, Mallick explains, because they used different software languages and communication schemes than those of the off-the-shelf handheld RFID readers supported by RFID Anywhere.

Other enhancements include enterprise-messaging connectors for Java messaging service and IBM WebSphere's message-oriented middleware. In addition, version 3.0 contains a new label designer used for printing labels, along with support for foreign language fonts.

RFID Anywhere 3.0 will be available this month, though pricing information has not yet been released. Sybase will hold a webcast on Dec. 14 at 10 am and 2 pm EST to provide more information about the software upgrade. For more information, visit iAnywhere's Web site.Software developers can download a free development copy of RFID Anywhere at the Web site's Developer Community section.
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