Microsoft to Showcase RFID-Enabled Applications at EPC Connection 2007

The software giant and its partners will demonstrate several ready-to-deploy, RFID-enabled applications at the conference, to be held Oct. 2-4, in Chicago.
Published: September 13, 2007

RFID Journal and EPCglobal North America, a not-for-profit, vendor-neutral, user-driven organization supporting the adoption of Electronic Product Code (EPC) technology, have announced that Microsoft and several of its key technology partners will demonstrate RFID-enabled applications built on Microsoft’s BizTalk platform, in an exhibit-hall theater pavilion at EPC Connection 2007. The conference will be held on Oct. 2-4, at Chicago’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

“It’s important for companies to understand that deploying RFID applications doesn’t have to be complex and expensive,” says Anush Kumar, senior product manager for Microsoft BizTalk RFID. “With BizTalk RFID, companies can use a proven platform to extend visibility to the edge of their enterprises and across their supply chains. And our partners will be demonstrating ready-to-deploy, RFID-enabled applications that leverage this capability today.”

Kumar adds, “With new capabilities, such as native support for electronic data interchange [EDI] and RFID, BizTalk Server 2006 R2 provides the ability to gather data from the edge of the enterprise, enabling the real-time visibility needed to achieve new levels of efficiency across the supply chain. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 provides the infrastructure required to connect existing applications, regardless of the platform, and to create and leverage new applications.”

The Microsoft Partner Pavilion will feature live demonstrations of the following applications:

Returnable Asset-Tracking Solution: TCS/Motorola

Reusable assets are often misplaced, and the lack of visibility into their movement can lead to substantial losses for companies. TCS has partnered with Microsoft and Motorola to offer an RFID asset-tracking solution enabling companies to better manage their returnable assets. TCS’ RFID-enabled asset-tracking solution provides an automated process with a Web-based interface to track and monitor the movement of returnable assets across a user’s premises. It provides information about assets due back from various trading partners, and also presents information regarding the status of returnable assets against associated order numbers, improving the visibility of assets possessed by different partners across the supply chain. The solution uses Microsoft’s BizTalk RFID platform to facilitate development, integration, installation and deployment.
Asset Management, Automated Goods Receipt: Xterprise

Xterprise is using RFID technology to enable process automation for materials handling, from supplier to manufacturer, across multiple markets. At EPC Connection, the company will demonstrate XAM, its returnable transport item (RTI) management application, and TraX-AGR, its automated goods receipt application. Using BizTalk 2006 R2 and other Microsoft products, Xterprise has enabled real-time reusables management, as well as improving process integration between manufacturers and suppliers. Working within the context of an enterprise-level SAP ERP, TraX AGR enables automated receipt and suggested put-away of goods into SAP IM. TraX AGR is designed to provide real-time availability of goods to the production line as they are received, eliminating receipt delays and reducing cycle times and required inventory levels.

Track and Trace: Cactus Commerce

The Track and Trace solution from Cactus Commerce leverages data-capturing technologies commonly available today for product identification. Enabled by Avery Dennison, Track and Trace produces smart labels by encoding RFID data and printing bar-code and human-readable labels out of the box. Organizations in such industries as government, retailing, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing and health and life science can use Track and Trace to configure both out-of-the-box and more complex custom business workflows and processes. Track and Trace is built on BizTalk Server 2006 R2, providing a hardware-agnostic layer that integrates into disparate systems.

Supply Chain Execution: 3M and HighJump Software

HighJump Software, a 3M company, is leveraging BizTalk RFID to optimize supply chain effectiveness for its customers, as well as enable RFID to be used throughout business applications to provide business process efficiencies. HighJump has partnered with Microsoft to leverage the RFID framework for RF and RFID applications, linking the capability at a platform level to allow for adoption throughout its suite of supply chain execution solutions.

RFID-Enabled Retail Store Accelerator on BizTalk RFID

Wipro‘s Retail Store Accelerator is envisaged to operate similarly to an accelerator/framework, providing a platform enabling various apparel store-level use cases. The extent of automation the technology provides allows store and warehouse personnel to focus on improving operations and business facilities, in addition to tracking various item movements within the store. The solution is built on BizTalk Server 2006 R2, which provides an RFID/integration infrastructure, and SQL Server 2005, providing business intelligence (BI) capabilities, and uses Intermec hardware.

Solutions for Common RFID Challenges

Victor Vega, who has educated more than 2,000 RFID professionals at the RFID Academy run by Alien Technology, will highlight numerous solutions to common RFID implementation challenges for demanding applications.

Real-World RFID Solutions for Small and Midsize Businesses

Unisys will demonstrate real-world RFID solutions for small and midsize businesses through the integration of BizTalk RFID with Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft’s SMB enterprise resource-planning solution. Specifically, Unisys will showcase supply chain scenarios, such as shipping and receiving, in which RFID events are being integrated with Microsoft Dynamics through BizTalk RFID.
How the Intel UHF RFID Transceiver R1000 is Changing the Way RFID Is Deployed

Intel‘s UHF RFID Transceiver R1000 chip is designed to improve the capabilities and cost-effectiveness of UHF readers. Intel will demonstrate how the R1000 can benefit end users in such areas as:

  • Performance and flexibility—The Intel R1000 enables a range of UHF RFID applications and reader form factors, based on a common Intel R1000 platform.
  • Simplicity and cost—High integration lowers design complexity, reduces reader size and cuts manufacturing costs.
  • Support for worldwide standards—The transceiver and firmware support EPCglobal Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C specifications, as well as regional regulatory requirements and the 840-960 MHz band.
  • Facilitated deployment—The transceiver and software enable low-level diagnostics, remote management and provisioning, and integration.
  • Development tools—Protocol firmware, programming tools, radio drivers and schematics help speed up time-to-market.

Customer Case Study: An RFID Success Story

Avery Dennison, a supplier of RFID solutions, will showcase a successful deployment by one of its key customers.

“Microsoft’s decision to move into the RFID market in a big way with its technology partners heralds a new stage in the evolution of RFID, where the focus is more on the software that uses data to drive value than on the ability to gather data with the hardware,” says Mark Roberti, founder and editor of RFID Journal. “We’re very excited that attendees at EPC Connection will be able to see several ready-to-deploy applications that can deliver a quick ROI.”

EPC Connection 2007 will feature four educational tracks: Supply Chain/Inventory Management, IT/Infrastructure, Manufacturing and Distribution/Logistics. It will also offer three preconference seminars: EPC Essentials, RFID in Packaging and the sixth RFID Academic Convocation, highlighting the latest research on RFID applications.

In addition, the conference will offer new case studies and objective end-user presentations from such companies as Ahold, AmerisourceBergen, Anheuser-Busch, Boeing, Cephalon, Coca-Cola, Dean Foods, Dow Corning, Excel, Kimberly-Clark, Jungheinrich Lift Truck, Lockheed Martin, McKesson, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Rolls-Royce, Schiff Nutrition, Shaw Industries, Technicolor, Wal-Mart and Wilson Sporting Goods.