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Microsoft to aid RFID deployment

Cliff Saran
Microsoft has unveiled plans to develop an IT infrastructure to support the deployment of radio frequency identification technology.

Built on top of its .net Framework for web services, the infrastructure is designed to be embedded in third-party applications or used on its own to capture and intercept data from sensors.

Major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Tesco are already using RFIDtechnology in some areas to improve stock management and track goods along the supply chain.

However, Microsoft's president of server applications, Paul Flessner, said RFID deployment was being hindered by the cost of integration and the limited scope to cleanse data. This is important as RFID tags can generate a huge quantity of data.

"Seamless integration of sensor data with applications and business processes through easy-to-use tools, at low cost, is a big step forward for companies justifying investment in RFID technologies," said Flessner.

Microsoft plans to offer event management with a business rules engine to enable users to run context- or rule-based processing for RFID data.

Along with the .net Framework, Microsoft's approach will rely on the SQL Server database and Visual Studio .net development tool. Integration with business applications will be achieved through Biztalk XML-based web services integration software.

Microsoft also plans to offer tools to configure and manage RFID devices. The company said its approach would support both standard and non-standard tags.

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