Workers to Wield Linux RFID Devices

RFID deals are really flying at the Frontline show. In one agreement, Linux handheld terminals will come together with wireless emulation for the enterprise. Through another, three IT firms will support Beaver Street Fisheries' bid to move RFID a step bey

Retail and manufacturing workers will soon wield RFID wands that support end-to-end Linux, through a new two-vendor pact rolled out this week. In a separate partnership, another vendor will team up with two integrators on an RFID job for Beaver Street Fisheries, a big frozen foods supplier thats quite willingly joining in on Wal-Marts controversial RFID trials.

American Microsystems Ltd. is one of only two companies in the world that make Linux-based wireless data collection terminals, said Teresa Stone, director of marketing at the Euless, Texas, company.

"Linux brings down the cost of the terminal," Stone told "Our ultimate mission is to provide bar-code and RFID data collection to companies that may not have been able to afford this before."

In a deal announced at the Frontline Solutions show in Chicago, AML has just signed on to integrate its scanner/reader hardware with Stay-Linked, wireless terminal emulation software from eBusiness Solutions Pros Inc.

Stay-Linked provides thin-client connectivity over wireless LANs to back-end supply chain applications running on enterprise servers. The software supports 5250/3270 and VT100/200 screen applications and a choice of Linux, Microsoft Windows, Unix and IBM AS/400 servers.

"We chose Stay-Linked for three main reasons: uninterrupted scanning sessions, centralized wireless management and centralized device management," Stone said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifWavelink is another of the many vendors making RFID announcements at the Frontline show. Read more here.

Also at Frontline, Beaver Street Fisheries announced that it has chosen RFID middleware vendor GlobeRanger Corp. and two systems integrators—Franwell Inc. and The Danby Group—to be its partners on initial Wal-Mart RFID compliance.

Unlike a lot of suppliers, who are less than thrilled over Wal-Marts initiative, Beaver Street is enthusiastic enough to have volunteered for Phase 1 of the RFID mandate.

Only Wal-Marts "Top 100" suppliers are required to participate at this stage of the game. Beaver Street is a large supplier of frozen meats and fish, but it isnt at the very highest tier in sales volume for Wal-Mart.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about the impact of Wal-Marts mandate on some product suppliers.

Howard Stockdale, Beaver Streets CIO, said he wants to leverage the investment hes making in RFID compliance by letting the tags do double-duty. As Stockdale sees it, the tags are well-suited to meeting fish business legal requirements for keeping tabs on weight, country of origin and date codes, for instance.

GlobeRanger, a pure-play RFID software vendor, produces a middleware platform called iMotion Edgeware. Of the two systems integrators engaged in the Beaver Street deal, Franwell focuses on RFID integration, whereas Danby specializes on the supply chain side.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms Supply Chain Management & Logistics Center for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.