AT&T Partners to Develop Managed RFID Service

Joins Intel, BEA Systems and Symbol Technologies to offer radio frequency ID hardware and network systems

Joins Intel, BEA Systems and Symbol Technologies to offer radio frequency ID hardware and network systems

Bedminster, NJ — June 7, 2006 — AT&T and its subsidiary Sterling Commerce are partnering with Intel, BEA Systems and Symbol Technologies to design and deploy radio frequency identification (RFID) device services and networks for business customers.

The goal of this initiative is to provide business customers with a best-of-breed managed RFID service and standardization of RFID technology by accelerating the mass adoption of RFID through the evolution to universal sensor networks (USN), according to AT&T.

Currently conducting customer trials scheduled for completion by mid-2006, the companies are working on network solutions that incorporate end-to-end services for RFID networks across diverse hardware platforms, operating systems, applications and databases, one of today's major challenges confronting RFID technology.

Intel's professional services organization, Intel Solution Services, is co-developing with AT&T Laboratories reference architectures to establish basic building blocks for RFID devices to improve the management and administration of RFID readers and sensors in a networked environment.

AT&T and BEA have collaborated to include BEA's WebLogic RFID Edge Server, WebLogic RFID Enterprise Server and WebLogic Portal software as part of AT&T's hosted RFID solution service. BEA's RFID technology is designed to manage readers and other devices, filter and coordinate with operational processes, and provide delivery of and access to RFID data to business applications.

RFID solution provider Symbol Technologies is providing the RFID hardware to round out the overall offering, including mobile and fixed RFID readers. The collaboration allows Symbol readers to read UHF RFID tags and pass the information to the AT&T network and have the readers managed remotely.

Through this initiative, AT&T said it is seeking to make RFID devices as simple to manage and as secure as any other network element in response to growing customer demand for an integrated, affordable service.

"As RFID becomes more widely deployed, network reliability, security and data integrity become increasingly critical," said Eric Shepcaro, senior vice president for business development at AT&T. "And for most companies, the task of ensuring those three things will be overwhelming and complex, especially across multiple hardware platforms and configurations and diverse supplier and partner networks and databases."

Shepcaro said that his company would be leveraging its investments and expertise in managing and securing networks, including the Sterling Commerce supply chain solutions that encompass warehouse management, multi-channel order management and, with the acquisition of Nistevo, transportation management solutions, to transform the way companies use RFID and sensor-based technology to manage their business.

AT&T said that it is working, alongside its partners, with RFID standards groups like the Internet Engineering Task Force and EPCglobal US, an affiliate of EPCglobal Inc., to improve the manageability and protocol support of RFID devices.

Additional Articles of Interest

— Contemplating RFID? Here are three critical questions to answer before embarking on a radio frequency identification initiative. Read "Recognizing Real RFID Adoption Potential," in the February/March 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— A recent independent study revealed that Wal-Mart customers are finding the items they wanted in stock more often due to the retailer's use of RFID technologies when compared to control stores. Read more in "Wal-Mart Achieving Improved On-shelf Availability with RFID, Study Finds" on