Apr 11, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.
April 11, 2008—Airbus has selected IBM and OATSystems to deliver a software platform upon which the France-based aircraft manufacturer's ambitious RFID deployment will run. While financial specifics were not disclosed in the announcement, the companies did characterize it as "multi-million dollar, multi-year RFID project" that represents "the manufacturing industry's single largest RFID software transaction to date."
Airbus's deployment was originally made public in June of last year, when RFID solutions provider ODIN technologies announced its selection as the exclusive hardware integration partner (see Airbus Taps ODIN, Signals Aerospace RFID Adoption). At the time, ODIN's Bret Kinsella remarked that the initiative represented "a full commitment by Airbus to utilize RFID up and down its value chain."
Airbus is deploying the technology in both its supply chain and manufacturing operations. The stated goals are error proofing, automating, and cost reducing those operations.
IBM and OAT were selected after a year of "exhaustive research and pilot testing." The combined solution will run atop IBM's RFID infrastructure, including the IBM WebSphere Premises Server, WebSphere Process Server, and WebSphere Business Monitor. Application-specific software from OAT will be deployed, including the company's Foundation Suite, Asset Tracking, and Work-in-Process solutions.
According to the companies, the solution will enable the rapid integration of RFID into Airbus's operations. It will also be very scalable; the company can easily deploy and integrate new RFID devices at all facilities, be they central, far-flung, or even client locations. The solution will also be made available to Airbus suppliers.
The contract is a high-profile one for IBM and OAT, not only because Airbus is a marquee brand around the world, but because its RFID efforts (alongside those of rival Boeing's) will serve to accelerate adoption throughout the aerospace industry.
Notably, there was speculation a couple years ago that IBM might acquire OAT. While that never came to pass, clearly the two maintain a very close relationship within RFID.