An Enterprising Approach to RFID

OATSystems' new platform scales RFID deployments across larger businesses.

OATSystems is releasing OATenterprise, a scalable platform designed to centrally manage the deployment of radio-frequency identification systems at multiple sites.

"As companies start to deploy RFID systems and put them into production, they need the capability to manage their infrastructure across multiple sites," said Paul Cataldo, vice president of marketing for OATSystems. "They may have banks of thousands of RFID readers at thousands of sites."

Cataldo said OATenterprise, launched April 1, provides visibility into operations and enables users to manage and monitor their reader networks.

"It pushes business logic from a central location to the reader," he said. "You can configure a device, take that configuration, and push it to multiple facilities."

Users can also have remote access to the platform via a Web browser, and it can connect with third-party sites.

Cataldo said the platform also allows users to gather RFID-collected data from multiple sites and bring it to a central location for an enterprise view of operations.

"It takes RFID capabilities up a level by providing a global view across the enterprise and enabling you to manage everything from a central point," he said. "It brings the pieces of the puzzle together."

Using OATenterprise, Cataldo said business managers and executives can monitor KPIs (key performance indicators) across the organization and also interface with back-end applications such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems and warehouse management solutions.

"OATenterprise brings RFID to the organization as a cost-effective, enterprise-wide solution," he said. "More and more of our customers are moving beyond single-site deployments and pilots of RFID and moving into full production. They need industrial-strength, commercial-grade capability."

AMR Research analyst John Fontanella said companies are moving in different directions as far as what type of middleware layer they use in conjunction with their RFID systems.

"The commodity middleware will be Microsoft," Fontanella said. "For a single site, it is inexpensive."

However, he said technology providers like OATSystems will offer enterprise-wide middleware solutions for companies with RFID systems located at multiple sites.

"Companies don't want to put an RFID expert at every site," he said. "They want centralized RFID management that allows them to remotely operate readers, configure workflows, and aggregate data."

Fontanella said providing enterprise-scale RFID middleware is a natural direction for OATSystems, and added that other RFID vendors are offering similar middleware solutions.

Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out's Retail site.