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HP & BEA Tag-Team on RFID

HP has teamed up with middleware vendor BEA Systems in an attempt to sell its storage systems into enterprises wrestling with the data demands of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) deployments. (See HP, BEA Team On RFID.)

IT managers are currently bracing themselves for a data explosion caused by RFID devices, as firms start deploying the technology, which is touted as hardier, easier to implement, and more flexible than barcode scanning. (See RFID Rocks Back-End Storage.) So it's no surprise to see storage vendors look more closely at the market possibilities.

Speaking on a conference call this morning, Frank Lanza, worldwide director of RFID services at HP, explained that the BEA partnership lays the foundation for joint offerings based on his firm's services and BEA's WebLogic RFID middleware. This, he added, opens the door to potential storage sales. "We see an opportunity," he said. "RFID technology brings more data to the table [and] companies will have to find ways of dealing with that."

But the exec admitted that even HP, which is using RFID to track its own product parts at a distribution center in Memphis, Tenn., is unsure about the long-term data implications of the technology. "A lot of us don't know how much data we will need to store over time," he explained, with retailers, in particular, still working out how to RFID-enable their supply chains.

A number of big-name firms, such as Wal-Mart, have already strong-armed their top suppliers into deploying RFID. Boekhandels Groep Nederland (BGN) has also revealed that is using the technology to track the movement of individual books at one of its stores. (See Dutch Bookstore Rolls Out RFID.) Other organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Defense, are also increasing the pressure on their IT partners to deploy RFID.

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