AT&T, partners to offer RFID managed service

AT&T, partners to offer RFID managed service

AT&T teamed up with BEA, Symbol and Intel on RFID.

AT&T wants to make RFID (radio frequency identification) easy for enterprises, teaming up with some big-name partners on Tuesday for a managed service and technology development.

RFID offers many possible benefits, such as a better way to track products through manufacturing and distribution, but is a new and complex technology for enterprises to integrate and use. Data security, privacy and integration with existing applications are key issues. AT&T aims to help customers integrate pieces from different vendors into a complete RFID system and then manage that system. The overall infrastructure could include a variety of hardware platforms, OSes, applications and databases, they said.

The carrier is partnering with BEA Systems on software, Symbol Technologies on hardware and Intel on reference architectures for RFID readers and sensors. Together with the partners, AT&T is also working with standards groups including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and EPCglobal US, an affiliate of EPCglobal, the main RFID standards group. They intend to help the standards groups make RFID more manageable.

BEA WebLogic RFID Edge Server, WebLogic RFID Enterprise Server and WebLogic Portal software will be part of AT&T's managed RFID service. The software can manage devices, filter data and coordinate RFID with an enterprise's processes, and get data from RFID sensors to applications, the companies said. Symbol will supply hardware for the managed service, including mobile and fixed RFID readers that can be managed remotely.

With Intel, AT&T is working on reference designs for the building blocks of RFID devices. Taking advantage of Intel chip technology, they aim to help equipment makers build devices that work well with networks. The companies will also create blueprints to help guide enterprises rolling out RFID systems and sensor networks.

The companies will evaluate whether and how to provide the service after customer trials that are expected to end by the middle of this year.

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