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How to Choose RFID Middleware

There are many middleware products and providers. Here's how you can evaluate your options so the product you pick will match your current and future needs.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Aug 13, 2007—Over the past few years, hundreds of companies, most complying with retailer or government mandates, have deployed radio frequency identification systems. As such, hundreds of companies have purchased RFID middleware—a broad term that refers to software used to manage and control RFID hardware devices, as well as perform varying levels of RFID tag-data processing.

But according to Toby Rush, president of RFID systems integrator Rush Tracking Systems, many of those early adopters now wish they'd put more thought into the middleware products they chose. As companies expand their initial RFID deployments to encompass more facilities or more use cases—or both—they're finding their middleware lacks the processing power needed to support the increased volume of RFID data or complex business processes.



"Starting small is a good tactic when first deploying RFID," says Rush, "but if you skimp on the software you chose, you will paint yourself into a corner." Some of his clients that looked only at their initial middleware requirements instead of taking a long-range view, he says, are now ripping out those platforms and installing beefier ones.

So how can you avoid that type of pitfall in your RFID deployment? The four steps outlined on the following pages will help you choose an RFID middleware platform that will support both your short-term and long-term goals. The chart on page 5 lists several vendors that supply such platforms.
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