Saturday, July 09, 2005

UPDATE: Microsoft to Build RFID Into Windows

A few days ago we learned that Microsoft was "supposedly" planning to integrate RFID capabilies into the Windows operating system. Today, according to an article in Computer Business Review Online, this was a mistake. Now, Microsoft says it is developing RFID software to run in "a Windows environment" as either a stand-alone product or an application for software vendors to embed in their own offerings and platforms. How can a senior executive make such a wrong statement? We think there's more to this story than they are letting out - probably not ready to make the announcement yet. Either way, it will be interesting to see what they develop and showcase, since the rest of the industry is moving forward quickly in the RFID space.

Original Posting from July 9, 2005: According to an article in on July 6, 2005, Microsoft is planning to make RFID applications and tag-readers compatible with Windows. According to Scott Woodgate, group product manager of business processes forMicrosoft, the company is trying to integrate RFID programs with the operating system and make the majority of devices work with plug-and-play functionality.

"RFID has not been widely adopted because of the cost of devices and implementation of management. One of the things we'redoing is working on standards-based and non-standards-based RFID readers. There's a whole host of them out there and they'll work on Windows asplug-and-play devices."

RFID tags broadcast unique identifier signals over a radio frequency, whichmeans their movement can be tracked over long ranges. Woodgate said compliance and business needs are driving the demand for RFID tags: "People will build applications that use RFID. You will get visualisation of what stock you have in your warehouse, or what stock is on the way from San Francisco to Detroit. You'll get that information in realtime and it'll be faster than chasing people and checking inventories."

Intellareturn Perspective: As other industry players get involved in adopting and implementing RFID, the technology and issues surrounding this will improve. With anything, the more awareness and understanding the better these solutions will be. Microsoft's support in making RFID readers and processes a plug-and-play capability with Windows illustrates the power and influence that this will have on a number of initiatives. The proliferation of RFID in the mainstream arena has begun, especially with major heavyweights behind it -- Wal-Mart, Microsoft, IBM, Accenture, VeriSign and the Defense Department. Stay tuned for more on MS RFID XP ...


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