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GlobeRanger Demos RFID Platform

Supply chain software provider GlobeRanger has been showing off a new RFID component for its iMotion wireless application platform.
By Bob Violino
Mar 24, 2003March 25, 2003 - In response to the growing interest in radio frequency identification, GlobeRanger, a Richardson, Texas-based provider of supply chain management software, has been previewing a new RFID component for its iMotion wireless application platform.

"There is a lot of momentum on the RFID supply side, and it's clear that there's a need for software to support enterprise RFID deployments," says George Brody, co-founder and chief strategy officer at GlobeRanger. The new software, which enables real-time inventory management, is set to start shipping in the fourth quarter.
Gates views the demo

GlobeRanger's iMotion platform was released last July. It enables companies to develop, deploy and maintain applications linking wireless terminals to GlobeRanger's supply chain management software. According to GlobeRanger, the iMotion platform was always developed with RFID capabilities in mind, because the technology enhances the real-time capabilities of the platform, which previously handled only bar codes.

In a demonstration at Microsoft’s Mobility Developers Conference at the recent CTIA show in New Orleans, GlobeRanger showed the new RFID capabilities in a retail setting, with RFID tags placed on a store shelf. Microsoft has been trying to develop an RFID strategy, and Bill Gates himself visited the GlobeRanger booth (see photo).

The demo showed how data from RFID tags, read either with fixed readers attached to the shelves or a handheld reader, is tracked and processed in real-time. As items are taken from the shelf, the iMotion application immediately identifies the change in status, creates appropriate alerts and updates existing databases. Those alerts, defined by the user, can range from notification to restock the shelves to warning of potential theft where unusually large numbers of items leave the shelf in one go.

Despite highlighting RFID’s retail potential, GlobeRanger expects the first iMobility RFID deployments to be in the supply chain, alongside existing barcode systems. "We expect warehouses to split between using RFID tags on shipping cases and palettes and bar codes on smaller items," says Brody. "RFID is overkill in some situations."

In its demonstration, the company used RFID tags and readers from Matrics and Intermec Technologies Corp., but maintained the software works with a range of RFID and wireless technologies. "We are agnostic to wireless network and operating systems and work with legacy RFID deployments," says Brody.

GlobeRanger sells its iMobility product directly but also through system integrators, such as EXE Technologies, and original equipment manufacturers, such as i2 Technologies.

The software runs only on Microsoft’s NT servers and uses the Microsoft .Net environment. The company says the new RFID component is set to enter beta testing in the next few months.

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