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Pramari Launches Free Open-Source RFID Middleware

The Rifidi Edge Server can manage EPC Gen 2 RFID interrogators and RFID reader data, as well as information from bar-code scanners, sensors and other hardware.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 26, 2009RFID software company Pramari has released an open-source middleware platform, the Rifidi Edge Server, that is free to download and use. The firm also offers support, consulting and training at a cost of approximately $5,000 for most small to midsize customers. Rifidi began beta testing the middleware on June 15 of this year, and released Version 1.0 on Oct. 26.

The Rifidi Edge Server middleware collects data from EPC Gen 2 RFID readers, filters that information and delivers it to systems that employ the data for business processes. The middleware works not only with RFID interrogators, but also with bar-code scanners, sensors and other hardware, such as cameras.

Bill Arnold, AWID's director of strategic sales
Fosstrak, an open-source RFID software platform that implements the EPC Network specifications, also includes middleware that performs similar functions. However, Rifidi Edge Server differs from Fosstrak's RFID middleware, says Brian Pause, Pramari's VP of product development, because the Edge Server utilizes Esper, a component of complex event processing (CEP) and event stream processing (ESP) applications, as its rules engine, thus enabling a user to include non-RFID devices on their system. The middleware also supports Web services, as well as EPCglobal's application-level events (ALE) standard, in its communication layer.

"Our focus," Pause says, "was to build a platform to be used by end users and enterprises for implementing RFID solutions in conjunction with other non-RFID devices, such as cameras and bar codes."

Purchasers of the one-year support contract receive an appliance known as the EdgeBox, which comes loaded with the Edge Server middleware. The EdgeBox, a 6-by-9-inch device with a Wi-Fi card and USB port to connect with a user's computer, provides ease of use because it eliminates the need to install Edge Server on a user's back-end system. RIFD hardware company AWID has partnered with Pramari to offer the software with low-cost support along with its own readers, Pause says, and other interrogator and tag manufacturers are considering doing the same.

The middleware is the result of a prototyping solution the company has been offering for approximately three years, says Prasith Govin, Pramari's CTO. The prototyping system emulates readers using software, and allows companies to walk through an RFID deployment in the software before investing in tags and interrogators (see SimCity for the RFID Crowd).

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