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Microsoft's Mobile RFID Software Now Available

Microsoft announced general availability of BizTalk RFID Mobile software, which was released in beta form in April. The software simplifies connectivity between mobile RFID devices and back-end systems.
Dec 08, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.

December 8, 2008—Today Microsoft announced the general availability of its BizTalk RFID Mobile integration software, which it released in beta form in April. The software enables mobile computers and other devices that run either the Windows Mobile 5.0 or Windows CE 5.0 operating systems to integrate data directly into Microsoft's BizTalk server environment.

BizTalk RFID Mobile and the new BizTalk RFID Standards Pack that was also announced today help mobile devices process RFID data at the point of collection before forwarding relevant information to application software or host systems. The software supports store-and-forward capability, so mobile workers can continue to collect data and use applications when they do not have real-time wireless connectivity. It also includes features for application development and mobile device management. The software supports the EPCglobal Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) and Tag Data Translation standards, which allows connectivity with RFID devices that support the same standards.

Five mobile computer makers support BizTalk RFID Mobile in their devices: Intermec, Motorola, PsionTeklogix, Samsung and Unitech. Multiple independent software vendors (ISVs) also support BizTalk RFID Mobile and include it in the solutions they deliver to customers.

"BizTalk RFID Mobile empowers businesses by giving their workers tools to make them more efficient and more productive," Microsoft senior product manager for application platform Paul Sanford told RFID Update. "We are seeing very diverse adoption, both by industry and size of company."

As an example, Sanford described how RiteCare, a pharmacy chain in India, used the beta version of BizTalk RFID Mobile to support its growing operations. The 10-store chain uses RFID to identify incoming shipments at its warehouse, cross dock shipments to stores when goods are needed quickly, and to manage warehouse inventory. Working with S3Edge, a Microsoft partner in India, RiteCare created an RFID system that went from pilot to production in just four weeks.

RiteCare credits the new RFID applications for reducing warehouse inventory by 50 percent and cutting average order fulfillment time from four days to two, according to Microsoft.

"RFID is here to stay in the enterprise because of this type of inventory visibility," Sanford said.

BizTalk RFID Mobile is available now and is free to current BizTalk Server customers who purchased Microsoft's Software Assurance. Microsoft also released a beta version of BizTalk Server 2009, the latest version of its BizTalk enterprise connectivity software. Microsoft said customers will be able to include BizTalk RFID Mobile with the general release of Biztalk Server 2009, which is scheduled for the first half of 2009. More information about Microsoft's RFID software is available here.
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