A lot of water has flown under the bridge since we began our efforts a few years ago to build a feature rich, scalable RFID platform that would allow end users to create, deploy, and manage end-end RFID solutions and most importantly give the power of this real time data to an organization’s core assets, people, to action upon and better instrument business decisions. 

Having had the opportunity to work on this fanstastic team involved in cutting edge innovation since day one am proud to say that though the journey has taken us through many a meandering route, the team never wavered from our commitment to bring RFID to the masses in concert with our partners via BizTalk RFID – The coming week marks a new day and a new journey for us, as we unveil the covers off the Microsoft BizTalk RFID platform (at  RFID Journal LIVE!, the world’s largest RFID conference and exhibition)

So what the platform all about, you ask?

The Microsoft BizTalk RFID platform in the BizTalk Server 2006 R2 release a  is an device management and event processing platform at the edge of the enterprise, allowing LOB applications to consume and act on the real time visibility that RFID provides. It is designed to provide a scalable, extensible platform for development, deployment, and management of rich RFID and sensor solutions.

In a nutshell:

%u00b7         The RFID platform / framework broadly encompasses device abstraction / management, event processing, with tools & services for deploying and managing RFID apps through their lifecycle and will be available for release as an integral part of the BizTalk family of products (will be available as part of all BizTalk server SKU’s in the upcoming R2 release)

%u00b7         We work (today) with a an extensive set of partners in the RFID h/w market, who are building device providers for our platform (to surface their device services) – in this mix are fixed UHF readers (normally used in supply chain track and trace scenarios), mobility focused readers such as handhelds, fork-lift readers, SDIO and pen style HF readers for other types of RFID scenarios.

%u00b7         The value of this real time data feed (from RFID devices) is realized when it’s combined with data from multiple backend LOB systems to orchestrate the real time enterprise from plant to business (hence the decision to ship as part of BTS)

We are also launching the BizTalk RFID landing page @ www.microsoft.com/biztalk/technologies/rfid/default.mspx which should contain a whole lot more information around why we are so excited about the potential of the platform we have enabled. This includes:

    1. Links to the whitepapers

    2. Pointer to download and use our Beta

    3. Details of our partner ecosystem (hardware and software) If you are looking to use BizTalk RFID with supported hardware the partner websites which will contain a ’device starter kit’ to reduce time to solution, and simplify device usage on our platform

    4. Links to the BizTalk RFID community

    5. 4 real world customer case studiesCHEP, Kildeer, iGPS, and BlueC Sushi (expected to go live through this week and scenarios which I will discuss in more depth in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! J)

In summary, as the RFID industry reaches a maturity of scale where the need now is for scalable, software platforms to build rich applications on, we believe BizTalk RFID is the answer the industry has been looking for to deliver the Connected Enterprise by addressing the “last mile connectivity problem.”  With BizTalk RFID customers can now connect real-time business processes to intelligent devices at the mobile edge, unleashing a plethora of real-time physical world visibility driven scenarios to gain business efficiencies that were not possible until today.

In parting, we’ve had the opportunity to stand and learn from industry leaders and our early adopter customers in building BizTalk RFID as we know of it today – And I can’t contain my excitement around the innovation ’at the edge’ that we’ll be looking to enable with this community as we embark on treading new ground in the areas of real time loosely coupled services that expose, compose, connect, and allow people to consume a variety of real time data from RFID to sensors, and incorporate them seamlessly into their decision making.

Express the RFID in you!