Intermec Embeds IBM RFID Software into Reader

Combination intended to beef up network and device management, reduce network traffic and automate operations

Combination intended to beef up network and device management, reduce network traffic and automate operations

Reading, United Kingdom — November 28, 2005 — Intermec Technologies Corp. has embedded IBM's WebSphere Device Infrastructure (WRDI) into one of its radio frequency identification readers, creating an "intelligent" RFID reader that automates the process of routing and managing incoming data from RFID tags, even from remote locations, the two enablers have announced.

The new WRDI capabilities, available immediately, give Intermec's IF5 readers "edge-server" capabilities, including the ability to perform on-board decision-making, helping to reduce network traffic by filtering incoming data from external RFID tags and sending only the most pertinent information upstream to a company's application server.

WRDI also provides the readers with a platform that can integrate and reconcile RFID information with data used in other parts of the business, the enablers said.

Data Expand Exponentially

"As the proliferation of RFID deployments continues, the amount of data that flow between RFID tags and readers expands exponentially," said Mike Wills, a vice president at Intermec. "Yet the benefits of RFID are only as good as the data that stream into the system. The combination of the IF5 and IBM's ... middleware provides companies with an intuitive solution that turns the flow of data into business-critical information."

IBM's WRDI was developed for RFID device manufacturers that need an embedded open-standards based software platform to provide automatic RFID data collection and reporting from remote locations where on-site IT services are not available. Embedded into the IF5 reader, the platform allows the reader to route data to an IBM RFID WebSphere Premises Server, as well as control RFID printers, such as the Intermec PM4i.

Increasing Visibility

Also integrated into the WRDI framework is IBM's WebSphere Everyplace Device Manager, which provides connectivity to the IBM Tivoli Systems Management suite to enable centralized device management and the ability to download new RFID applications or device software updates to readers installed in remote locations.

As an example of how IBM's software makes radio tagging a strategic business function, Intermec said that the software can move product or operational information into systems that analyze trends in the supply chain that shed light on a company's efficiency or sales trends. As a result, RFID network administrators possess the ability to gain visibility into RFID-tagged pallets and products. That information then can be shared across an integrated retail or consumer supply chain, leading to greater control of inventory levels, reduced network traffic and, potentially, an overall reduction in system and management costs, according to the enablers.

"The creation of intelligent readers that are able to optimize the benefits of industry-leading, open-standard middleware solutions will provide companies a lens into their supply chain never seen before," said Robert Mayberry, vice president of sensor and actuator solutions at IBM.

Additional Articles of Interest

— RFID technology has the potential to change the way supply chains are managed, but in order to be effective businesses need to take a holistic look at the deployment. Read more in the article "Time for RFID: Applying RFID in the Supply Chain."

— For a contrary view of the future of the RFID market, see the article "The O'RFID Factor: A 'No Spin' Look at Where Radio Frequency Identification Is Headed," in the October/November 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— For more information on trends relating to radio frequency identification (RFID), follow this link for an extensive listing of articles, featuring the latest research findings on the RFID, including adoption, return on investment and barriers to implementation.