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Tibco’s RFID strategy

The killer apps for radio frequency identification (RFID) will be written by coders who know their business, according to Dushyant Pandya, director of solutions at Tibco Software Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based integration software vendor. By that, Pandya doesn’t just mean that they will know how to program, but that coders will know the business objective of the company for which they are writing the app.

In his view, organizations relying on developers who know their business will be on the cutting edge of RFID application development trends.

“Clearly, in the RFID world the killer apps will be written by the companies themselves because they would understand their business better,” Pandya told Application Development Trends in a recent interview. Those in-house developers have the infrastructure and access to information to actually create those killer apps based on the standards for RFID and companion technologies such as Web services, he noted.

Tibco is basing its RFID strategy on demands and responses from its customers, Pandya said. The demand has been growing steadily. “Many of our customers, about a year and a half ago, started looking seriously at RFID, saying [that it] is going to happen,” he said.

In Pandya’s view, Tibco is well positioned for handling one of the things RFID applications are going to produce -- tons of data. “Most of the good applications, when people talk about where is the ROI, will be written by people who want to do something in real-time, which means they want to store something and cache this information,” he explained. “There will be a huge volume load.”

Experience in other data-intensive applications, such as financial services where information on stocks change every minute, will hold Tibco in good stead when RFID comes online, Pandya believes. He points to the company’s work with NASDAQ.

“For every change of stock price, all the options need to get re-priced,” he said, “and a stock price may affect 200 option prices. So what NASDAQ does is to cache all this information [and] quickly get all of that stuff into a distributed fault-tolerant environment. The ability to transfer and store this information is very critical. If you look at EPC, the Electronic Product Code, most of it is about how you store and access this information through Web services.”

Once the data is received from the RFID transmission, it will require business intelligence tools to provide more than the simple what, where and when -- such as this package is on this loading dock at this hour -- that are the basics of the technology.

“The thing with RFID is that if you keep it very simple, all you know is what, where and when,” Pandya said. “But what that means is that I know nothing about why. The critical information around why doesn’t exist.”

Obtaining the critical “why” information requires integrating the basic RFID data of what, when and where with invoices, shipping orders and other information that relates to it, he said. Bringing all that data together and making it meaningful to corporate managers and knowledge workers is where Tibco believes its integration and messaging middleware experience and products will add value to RFID applications, Pandya concluded.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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