SAP and Intel to Standardize RFID Hardware Integration

Direct integration provides a streamlined approach to the customer’s RFID implementation and is best utilized in less complex business environments. The device management partner approach enables the customer to manage a more complex environment comprising multiple device types from different vendors. The announcement was made at CeBIT, the world’s largest IT trade fair, being held at Hanover, Germany, March 10 – 16.
The collaboration introduces a new RFID concept, enabling companies to integrate RFID data directly into backend systems. Companies can implement the solution on any Intel-based RFID backend hardware such as servers and front-end hardware such as desktops, notebooks and RFID readers—regardless of provider. This solution will likely result in faster adoption of RFID devices, creating a plug and play environment. Intel will also supply the necessary technology to allow for a device management solution to be delivered through the SAP NetWeaver platform.
Companies implementing RFID technology today face hurdles such as the expense of the solution, complex integration of proprietary and non-proprietary technology, emerging standards as well as complex systems architecture, which results from a wide range of hardware providers. The new approach from SAP and Intel will help companies to meet these challenges. It will provide companies with the capability to directly instruct the RFID reader from the business application, for example, warehouse management. This capability will help decrease costs, increase process speed and reduce the need for services on hardware maintenance and support. The collaboration will also enable companies to combine non-intelligent with intelligent data capture devices for a total RFID solution, regardless of hardware or vendor.
The concept is based on providing more intelligence as part of the reader hardware as well as seamless integration into any system infrastructure, such as SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure. The additional intelligence on the reader hardware will also allow companies to control hardware combinations, such as an arrangement of sensors and actors together with RFID reader hardware.
“The implementation of RFID technology within current business processes will increase the data volume significantly,” said Abhi Talwalkar, vice president and general manager, Intel Digital Enterprise Group, Intel Corporation. “To drive down costs and increase flexibility of business processes, intelligent systems need to provide a solid foundation for smart, accurate decisions. The new platform approach from Intel, based on open standards with broad industry alignment as played out with SAP and high performance systems, has the capabilities of bringing these benefits to the customer.”
Existing ecosystem partners of Intel and SAP will play a major role in bringing this concept to the market. For example, it will complement existing device management partnerships that SAP has with other vendors. The new approach between Intel and SAP focuses primarily on the direct data exchange between reader hardware and business applications. Intel will provide enough intelligence on its readers to be able to directly feed SAP with the read results. It does not eliminate the need of administrating, monitoring and managing all the different RFID devices, which is the main focus of existing device management collaborations and which also requires a tight integration of these monitoring functions into SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure.
“With this approach, we are moving another step closer to our vision of adaptive business networks and real world awareness by accelerating business processes through improved sense and response capabilities by leveraging RFID,” said Claus Heinrich, member of the executive board, SAP AG. “At the same time, we are expanding our RFID partner ecosystem so that our customers can choose the RFID solution best suited to their needs.”
The proposed solution will include RFID-enabled supply chain execution with mySAP Supply Chain Management, including an improved integration of partner devices and partner based device management; a certification for standard Physical Markup Language messages coming from RFID devices; as well as a composite platform based on SAP NetWeaver that plugs into the partner’s device management, administration and monitoring tools and provides the user with a look and feel of an SAP solution.
Intel will provide a standard architecture to give users the capability of directly integrating RFID devices into business solutions from SAP. In addition, Intel will provide access for customers to its RFID Lab in Munich and provide support through the Intel Solution Service organization.

Source: SAP AG