IBM Unleashes New RFID Middleware - Page 2

In contrast, Remote Server is tailored mainly toward integrating the newer handheld, kiosk and self-service environments with legacy devices such as IBM POS (point-of-sale) terminals, she said.

"Most companies interested in handheld or self-service checkout devices want to build on the infrastructures they already have," the IBM exec told

Customers also can run third-party store management and promotion management applications on Remote Server, for example. An optional RFID component is available for the Remote Server

The Premises and Remote servers each come with a built-in WebSphere Application Server, an IBM Universal DB2 database repository and IBM Tivoli management tools, among other components. The Premises server can be used for remote server management, too.

As other competitive advantages for IBM, Breidenbach cited IBMs support for "open standards" and its policy of not competing with either RFID device makers or third-party application software vendors.

As some analysts see it, IBMs three new products bolster a position in RFID that is already very strong.

IBM has worked with early adopters in developing the middleware, according to Sharyn Leaver, an analyst at Forrester Research. "These arent products that were dreamt up in a lab," the analyst said in another interview with

"Another key part is that IBM also has a services component with experienced talent in RFID," Leaver said.

IBMs solution is also highly scalable, according to Leaver. "A whole swarm of giants has been trying to enter into the platform role," she said. "[But] IBMs tiered architecture can be used for everything from a small pilot to a large deployment. That kind of scalability has been missing until now."

Although high scalability hasnt been at the top of customers priority lists during early RFID trials, thats starting to change already, the analyst said.

"Customers are already moving from [an attitude of], How do I respond to this [RFID] mandate? to How can I achieve the maximum benefits from RFID, now and in the future?" according to Leaver.

List pricing for the Premises and Remote servers is $5,750 per processor. IBM is recommending a two-processor minimum configuration.


Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.