SAP, Intel Join To Promote RFID Tags

Software developer SAP and chip designer Intel said today at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, that they would collaborate on technology to allow companies to integrate data collected from RFID chips.

“The announcement provides additional evidence that RFID is real and is moving from being an interesting technology to a key enabler of the next generation of supply-chain management,” Mike Dominy, senior analyst for enterprise services at the Yankee Group, told CRM Buyer via e-mail.

What It Is

Radio frequency identification chips use tags that transmit information to a reader. They have many supply-chain uses, from anti-theft in retail stores, asset management, pallet tracking and logistics.

They are used in passes for automatic road toll collection, contactless payment systems, recording runners’ times in races and labelling airline baggage.

SAP and Intel said their solution moves data directly from the RFID tags into a back-end system.

Microsoft announced yesterday that it would develop middleware that would act as a bridge between RFID hardware and business-planning and management software, which it said would make the information more useful tocustomers.

The middleware will be built on its .NET platform and run on two-processor servers. It will integrate RFID data with its SQL server database software.

Spreading Bets

Intel’s venture with SAP shows that the company is hedging its bets, trying to avoid pinning all its RFID bets onMicrosoft as a partner. “SAP is a logical choice for Intel because of SAP’s relationships with companies in the large enterprise market,” Dominy said.

RFID tags have been around for more than 50 years, but they have been expensive and difficult to implement and have not gained widespread use.

That is about to change, Dominy said.

“We expect several hundred more companies — at least — to begin adopting RFID this year. The adoption of RFID follows a migration path with companies beginning slowly with a small number of locations (warehouses, stores, etc.)this year and expanding to widespread adoption in 2008,” Dominy said.

SAP also announced that it had begun shipping the latest version of MySAP ERP.

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