Microsoft Unwraps Technology at Tech•Ed 2005 to Spark Greater Adoption of RFID

ORLANDO, Fla. — June 7, 2005 — Today at Microsoft® Tech•Ed 2005, Senior Vice President of Server Applications Paul Flessner announced a new strategy to develop a scalable radio frequency identification (RFID) technology infrastructure, enabling customers and partners to easily integrate business processes using RFID data. Flessner’s Tech•Ed keynote demonstration was built on an early version of this technology.

Businesses around the world are evaluating how RFID technologies can enable them to streamline business processes and provide real-time visibility into their supply chain. However, adoption of RFID is hindered by many factors, including complexity of device management, lack of standards, limited solutions to cleanse volumes of data, and costly integration with existing business applications. Microsoft Corp.’s RFID infrastructure is intended to address these pain points and stimulate faster adoption of RFID.

Built on top of the .NET Framework, Microsoft’s RFID technology can be embedded within third-party applications or used on its own to capture and interpret data from sensors and manage business events in an easy–to-deploy, user-friendly environment. Companies may use RFID technology to enhance business processes, saving them time and money and improving their visibility into key business performance metrics.

“Seamless integration of sensor data with applications and business processes through easy-to-use tools at low cost is a big step forward for companies justifying a strategic investment in RFID technologies,” Flessner said. “This infrastructure will take full advantage of the .NET Framework and Visual Studio® .NET as well as advancements across the Windows Server System™ family of products. The intent is to reduce the complexity and cost of integrating and managing RFID data in a company.”

Microsoft’s RFID infrastructure will include a strong event management layer with a proven business rules engine. The event management layer and the rules engine will allow customers to perform context- or rules-based processing on RFID data to provide information directly to line-of-business applications or business processes that span applications through Web services integration and orchestration products such as BizTalk® Server.

The new Microsoft RFID infrastructure will ensure that partners, including internal stakeholders such as those on the Microsoft Business Solutions team, can easily embed the functionality directly into their applications or build applications on the infrastructure. Open application programming interfaces (APIs) and .NET-centric tools will allow partners to quickly create specialized vertical solutions across a wide range of applications.

“Ease of integration and rapid deployment are essential for companies looking to adopt new technologies,” said Eddie Capel, senior vice president of product management for Manhattan Associates Inc. “Microsoft’s new RFID infrastructure, combined with solutions such as Manhattan Associates’ EPC Manager, will enable companies to quickly and effectively deploy RFID solutions — key steps in helping companies recognize the benefits of an RFID-enabled supply chain.”

The Microsoft RFID infrastructure also will help drive down total cost of ownership (TCO) to integrate, automate and transform business processes enabled by RFID data.

“Microsoft’s RFID infrastructure will provide the perfect platform for Microsoft’s business solutions and industry partners as we democratize RFID for small and midsize businesses through affordable adaptability,” said Satya Nadella, corporate vice president for Microsoft Business Solutions. “The flexible and extensible platform will help companies achieve trading partner compliance quickly and at low cost. By working closely with partners and helping our customers derive internal value from RFID, we will help enable a large variety of vertical applications.”

The configuration and management of RFID devices can be complex and cumbersome. This new infrastructure will include an advanced device management layer that will help customers configure and manage devices in a simple plug-and-play manner. The scalable and extensible infrastructure will allow customers to read data through any standards-based or nonstandards-based sensors regardless of formats, thereby reducing customers’ dependency on a specific technology, thereby protecting their RFID investments over the long term.

“The University of Arkansas RFID Research Center is fortunate to have Microsoft as a member of our founding Strategic Sponsors,” said Dr. Bill Hardgrave, executive director of the Information Technology Research Institute at the University of Arkansas. “Although RFID is experiencing rapid growth, it is hindered by myriad complex and disparate software solutions. Microsoft has a solid history of taking difficult situations and creating simple software solutions that are easy to deploy and use. We look forward to working with Microsoft in advancing the adoption of RFID.”

Because the infrastructure will be developed on the .NET Framework, corporate developers, IT professionals and independent software vendors (ISVs) will discover instant value. The common design environment in Visual Studio .NET will enable developers to use the latest Extensible Markup Language (XML) Web services technologies to connect data and processes. IT professionals will be able to rapidly deploy business processes, perform real-time monitoring and remotely configure devices.

About Microsoft Tech•Ed 2005

Tech•Ed, one of Microsoft’s premier developer and IT professional training events, reaches more than 75,000 people worldwide annually, providing attendees with access to technical experts, the latest technical information and hands-on labs to learn the skills they need to build state-of-the-art solutions. Sponsors of Tech•Ed 2005 in Orlando include Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., EMC Corp., HP, Intel Corporation and Veritas Software Corp.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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