IBM, Microsoft and Oracle Tailor Middleware to RFID
IBM and its customers are collaborating on RFID and retail supply chain additions to the WebSphere product lineup, as Microsoft and Oracle also roll out RFID pilots tackling specific challenges.IBM, its partners and some big-name users are piloting unannounced additions to the WebSphere product lineup. One set of future components will be tailored to RFID across government, industrial and retail applications. Another will be fine-tuned for use in the retail supply chain, either with or without RFID. Meanwhile, middleware competitors Microsoft and Oracle are piloting RFID-adapted middleware of their own. Essentially, IBM wants to leverage WebSphere as a platform flexible enough to integrate POS (point of sale) and wireless data while also allowing a wide choice of third-party applications, back-end operating environments and front-end interfaces, said Steve Valentine, a retail consulting executive at IBM. IBM is using the pilots to help develop new extensions to products in IBMs DB2 Universal Database, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational lineups that meet the needs of embedded environments, according to Janet Jackman, an IBM executive who is close to both projects.
For example, one component under development is a DB2 extension thats light enough to run on POS cash registers and PDAs. The light database will feature capabilities for asynchronous, or store-and-forward, communications as well as the ability to work offline, Jackman said.