Oracle Expands RFID Solutions

By Jonathan Collins

The business applications giant unveiled its Sensor-Based Services strategy to add support for RFID systems and a variety of sensors.

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At the RFID Journal Live! event in Chicago last week, software giant Oracle announced its Sensor-Based Services strategy to add support for RFID and other sensors to its core database and application offerings. The company also unveiled two bundled packages that include implementation and consulting services for enterprises looking to deploy RFID.

Oracle’s Sensor-Based Services—a collection of software extensions or drivers that work with the company’s existing software products—will enable enterprises to use Oracle software to capture, manage, analyze and respond to data collected from RFID tags as well as from a range of sensors such as temperature or motion sensors, especially those integrated with RFID tags.

“In a lot of cases it will be the additional sensors that will help drive value from RFID,” says Allyson Fryhoff, Oracle’s vice president for business development and strategic alliances.

Oracle aims to enable its customers to become RFID-ready by using their existing investments in the company’s technology. In February, Oracle announced that the next version of its Warehouse Management application would also be RFID-enabled to boost inventory control (see Oracle Speaks of RFID Plans). As a continuing part of the strategy, Oracle says the next versions of its 10g database and its 10g application server will incorporate Sensor-Based Services and be capable of accessing and processing data collected by an array of RFID readers and other sensors.

Sensor-Based Services are currently in beta testing with Oracle customers, including DHL, and will become commercially available this summer in the next versions of the 10g database and 10g application server. In addition, Oracle says, its E-Business Suite modules will support RFID and include Sensor-Based Services in the near future.

The Sensor-Based Services currently support readers from Intermec and Alien Technology, but Oracle says that support for others are on the way and that reader companies will develop their own middleware to connect to Oracle software through a compliance program the company will run.

“We will have a driver interface and open APIs for any reader or sensor to be able to connect,” says Fryhoff.

Also set for a summer release are two packages—the Oracle Compliance Assistance Package and the Oracle Pilot Kit—that the company will bundle with Sensor-Based Services software and its Oracle Consultancy services.

The Oracle Compliance Assistance Package will help companies comply with recent RFID mandates from Wal-Mart, the Department of Defense, Metro, Target and others. The package includes a prebuilt application to connect to readers and sensors and process the data collected to support specific processes for customer operations such as advance shipping notification.

Designed for companies just starting to investigate the potential for RFID, the Oracle Pilot Kit will comprise drivers for leading RFID readers, reporting capabilities and business intelligence tools to help provide companies with immediate visibility into business processes.

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