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SAP Introduces Software for Product Tracking

The German company's new Product Tracking and Authentication application and Object Event Repository are designed to let companies more easily monitor and authenticate serialized products, such as RFID-tagged drugs.
By Beth Bacheldor
Mar 20, 2007SAP expanded its portfolio of RFID-ready software with two new products intended to help drugmakers and other companies track and trace goods as they move within their organizations and among trading partners.

SAP's Object Event Repository database software is designed to aggregate RFID, sensor and other identifying data, such as the U.S. Department of Defense's Unique Identification (UID) numbering scheme to track high-value and time-sensitive items. That data can come from a variety of software applications, such as a warehouse management system, spread across an organization.

In addition, SAP announced its Product Tracking and Authentication (PTA) business application, which leverages the data housed in the SAP Object Event Repository so companies can more easily track and authenticate the serialized products they manufacture and distribute, such as RFID-tagged drugs. The PTA can also help companies keep track of goods as they traverse the supply chain. Both the Object Event Repository and the PTA are expected to ship sometime in May or June, says Krish Mantripragada, SAP's global head of RFID and auto-ID solutions.

According to Mantripragada, the SAP Object Event Repository is based on EPCglobal's Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) candidate standard. EPCIS-based software serves as the communication mechanism between applications and data repositories so companies can effectively exchange and query data from within their own RFID processes, and with partners. SAP's Object Event Repository, however, can be used for more than just EPC-related data, he says.

"We like to view it as something more generic and more global than what the EPCIS specification describes," Mantripragada explains. "What we care about is the data. We care about the unique ID numbers—whether they are EPC, UID or something else—and we care about the events associated with that data."

The Object Event Repository software is designed to help companies in a number of industries aggregate their RFID and other similar data. The PTA, on the other hand, is a good fit for pharmaceutical companies working to track individual items and their associated serial numbers within their supply chains, Mantripragada says, in an effort to improve product safety and fight drug counterfeiting. The PTA, he notes, is also suitable for other types of companies that often have to account for and track usage of specific items and parts, such as those in the automotive, aerospace and defense industries.

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