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Tibco, Alien in joint RFID effort

Seeking to capitalize on the emerging market for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in business process management, Tibco Software Inc. has disclosed plans to join forces with RFID provider Alien Technology, Morgan Hill, Calif.

Under the agreement, Alien will supply the RFID technology that will link to business process management software via Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tibco's integration and business software. It will also make use of Web services and the WS-Eventing standard Tibco has developed in conjunction with Microsoft and BEA Systems, according to Larry Neumann, director of marketing strategy at Tibco.

Taking advantage of radio technology, which has been broadcasting event information since the crash of the Hindenburg in 1937, the tiny RFID transmitters on shipping pallets seek to replace bar codes for inventory tracking.

Neumann offered an example of how this can work.

"An event can be as simple as a pallet that was just put on a truck," he said. "If you look at what RFID is all about, it's about tracking products through a supply chain. So RFID is an event-driven requirement. The pallet goes past an RFID loading dock, where it gets read, and then goes on to a truck, triggering some new activity."

Systems tracking inventory and shipping would receive the real-time information via RFID and Tibco integration software on the status of the pallet.

As Neumann envisions it, the business process management systems and human managers would quickly have the information they need. "Is that pallet on time? What's on that pallet? Can I correlate it with my pick and pack list? All those kinds of details can be treated as event-driven applications," he said.

Tibco and Alien demonstrated their joint RFID technology at the recent EPCglobal conference for Wal-Mart suppliers. The two companies have set the first half of 2004 for the release of their combined products.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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