Software suppliers are beginning to provide ways for businesses to integrate data radio frequency identification technology into their databases and applications.
Database suppliers Oracle and Sybase have both separately unveiled their software strategies for RFID technology, although analysts have said the move is well ahead of most companies' plans to implement RFID.
Lee Doyle, IDC's group vice-president for network infrastructure, said, "As more companies consider RFID projects, they will be turning to companies that can offer a comprehensive solution capable of integrating with existing enterprise applications and platforms." Doyle predicted that by 2008 user organisations will spend $2bn worldwide on RFID equipment.
Sybase has released a suite called RFID Enterprise, which companies can use to track and manage their RFID-tagged items and integrate the data with their enterprise applications. As a result, they will be able to reduce inventory losses and cut costs by managing all their RFID assets using a single system.
In effect, the software acts as RFID middleware, taking data from the RFID readers and propagating it into enterprise applications. The system includes RFID Edgeware, which has a single interface for managing different types of RFID devices such as readers, barcode scanners, printers and real-time location services (RTLS) systems.
Oracle's software strategy for RFID involves a partnership with Intel to develop what it calls a service-oriented enterprise framework to ease the adoption and deployment of RFID technology within companies.
Oracle and Intel technical teams will work together to create systems that help companies manage their RFID data and integrate it into enterprise information systems, specifically Oracle's Application Server 10g, Database 10g and E-Business Suite.
They will support RFID hardware based on Intel processors, including handheld readers, PCs, mobiles, servers and communications platforms.
"As companies deploy RFID and sensor networks, they need to be able to handle vast amounts of real-time data along with new business process if they want to realise the maximum ROI," said Tom Gibbs, director of strategy and planning for Intel Solutions Market Development Group.
"The solution will help customers make sense of the raw data and turn it into relevant product information that they can act upon as events happen in real time. We believe this approach will allow customers to realise greater value from supply chains, product inventory and warehouse management systems."