ObjectStore Set to Launch One-Stop Shop for RFID Data Handling

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-09-20 Print this article Print

ObjectStore is releasing what it hopes will become a one-stop-shop for businesses to manage the swamp of data coming from RFID applications.

ObjectStore, an operating company of Progress Software Corp., on Monday will announce what it hopes will become a one-stop shop for businesses to manage the swamp of data coming from RFID applications. ObjectStores RFID (radio-frequency identification) Accelerator is an application platform that includes a persistent, query-able database EPC (Electronic Product Code)-related data.
It builds on the Bedford, Mass., companys Real Time Event Engine, announced in January, which is geared to collect, propagate and correlate RFID-emitted data.
According to Mark Palmer, vice president of marketing, the RFID Accelerator is designed as a soup-to-nuts RFID package, capable of connecting to RFID readers, processing information in an event-driven fashion and executing real-time queries on rapidly changing streams of data, called event streams, and includes everything necessary, such as enterprise messaging buses. Gerard Friemel, the owner of a German forestry company called Cambium-Forstbetriebe, has been testing an RFID Accelerator-powered logging application from ObjectStores application partner DABAC. His firm administers the logging of some 70,000 cubic meters of trees yearly in southern Germany. The problem Friemel is trying to solve has to do with logs falling off trucks, disappearing within sawmills, rolling off into the woods or whatever else happens to create inventory shrinkage. Shrinkage is expensive—with between 10 percent and 15 percent of logs lost each year, it translates into around 120,000 euros ($146,236). Friemel is hoping to get that down to between 1 percent and 3 percent with RFID tags. His plan is to concoct an RFID tag that can be securely fastened to trees with nails to replace the plastic tags that often fall off of trees when they harden in the freezing German winters. Getting the tags to stay on is the first step. RFID will help with Friemels second problem, which has to do with the thousands of private forest owners who own very small properties yet expect to be reimbursed for every inch of tree taken from their postage-stamp-sized lots. RFID must overcome hurdles including affordability and security before being fully embraced, writes eWEEK.com Supply Chain Management Editor Jacqueline Emigh. Read more here. "It is not possibly to cut a tree in this private property and follow exactly the tree out of the forest, put it on the truck, bring it to the sawmill," and not lose any logs, said Friemel, in Fahrenbach, Germany. RFID will not only help keep track of each tree; it will also enable Cambium-Forstbetriebe to get paid by the sawmills faster than the current average wait of three months, since the sawmills themselves will be able to track the RFID information on the logs. Cambium-Forstbetriebe expects RFID Accelerator to reduce the payment reconciliation process by more than 50 percent. The efficiency this brings to the small property owners, the sawmills and to the firm itself should offset the high price of RFID tags, Friemel said. He currently buys plastic tags for about 6 cents per thousand and is hoping to work with DABAC to design RFID tags that cost less than 1 cent apiece. "It must be less than 1 cent or so because we cannot reuse it," he said. RFID Accelerator encapsulates what Palmer says is a new form of data querying, created by ObjectStore, called EQL (Event Query Language). Parts of EQL are being standardized by EPCglobal Inc., an organization of firms and industries focused on creating global standards for the EPC. The RFID Accelerator is designed as a service-oriented architecture, which, the company claims, is fundamental to implementing an EPCIS (EPC Information Service), a standard now under development by EPCglobal. ObjectStore RFID Accelerator has native support for Sonic ESB (Enterprise Service Bus). Sonic ESB is geared to scale so as to manage large numbers of physically dispersed RFID readers and enterprise applications. It enables event-driven queries to trigger subsequent events. For example, after RFID-tagged products have been located, Sonic ESB enables a message to be sent to, say, a sawmill, to notify its inventory system that products such as logs have left trucks. Click here to read eWEEK Labs review of Sonic ESB. RFID Accelerator also supports EPCglobals ALE (Application-Level Event) standard. The technology will be available within the next two months. Pricing starts at $25,000 per CPU for development licenses. Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at http://database.eweek.com for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

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Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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