iAnywhere Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of Sybase, Inc. (NYSE: SY), today announced the release of RFID Anywhere 2.0, the next generation of the companys software platform that provides an extensible environment for developing and managing robust, highly-distributed radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions. Today the company also announced an RFID Anywhere Developer Program that provides developer versions of the software, comprehensive support materials and general RFID educational content to customers, partners, and prospects.

Since releasing the initial version of RFID Anywhere in early 2005, we have seen significant interest from enterprises, systems integrators and application developers that are faced with the complexities of RFID implementations, said Steve Robb, senior director of marketing, iAnywhere. Building on iAnywheres expertise in mobile and widely-distributed computing environments, RFID Anywhere 2.0 brings together our vision for the platform with the substantial requirements that large-scale adopters of RFID technology have encountered. It addresses the challenges raised by varying protocol standards, the broad range of hardware devices available, and the distributed nature of typical RFID network components.

RFID Anywhere simplifies RFID projects every step of the way, reducing both up-front development expense and ongoing operating costs in the following areas:

- Development RFID Anywhere handles interfaces with RFID devices (readers, printers), and non-RFID data collection technology (bar code equipment, remote monitoring devices), across multiple protocols, leaving developers to focus on business logic. New code can be tested through the RFID Simulator without investments in readers and tags.

- Operations Edge processing allows business logic to be distributed in the network as appropriate for gathering data from RFID and bar code equipment. This allows data to be processed in a timelier manner to drive rapid response when necessary. It minimises RFID data traffic on the network and guarantees data delivery even across occasionally connected networks.

- Management True enterprise management and security are extended to the RFID network even as it spans multiple locations, ensuring maximum uptime and availability.

As RFID technology has evolved, a major hurdle for early adopters has been the proliferation of various standards and protocols. RFID Anywhere 2.0 allows for multiple data protocols in a single network, including standards-based RFID and barcode protocols in the ISO and EPC families, as well as customised tag formats required by certain applications. Most notably, the EPCglobal Generation 2 (GEN 2) standard is fully supported within the product. At the heart of the solution is the new Data Protocol Processor, which operates as a universal translator for handling the broad variety of protocols and tag formats.

Key New Features in RFID Anywhere 2.0
- Enterprise Manager, a standalone console that can be accessed from any browser, monitors and manages the entire RFID network. It allows configuration of groups of hardware based on location or device-type, and facilitates enforcement of policies and repeatable configurations. In addition, Enterprise Manager can distribute and update software and system configurations as well monitor the health of the RFID network.

- Security enhancements include local security settings, or authentication against network-based directories such as LDAP, Active Directory or Windows NT domain directories. As a result, role-based security can be implemented, granting specific rights to individuals or groups with regard to devices and business modules.

- Multi-protocol support is provided by the Data Protocol Processor, which provides for the decoding of tag data after reads and the encoding of data when printing/commissioning RFID tags. The support for multiple protocols is carried through the product in its data simulation, data processing and data reporting areas. For example, the Report Engine MP feature enables the simple creation of XML reports based on the tag activity of tags representing multiple protocols.

RFID Anywhere continues to make extensive use of industry standards, such as Web Services for Management and Web Services for Security in delivering enterprise-class capabilities for operating RFID networks.

The number of variables that must be considered when planning an RFID network can be staggering. Also, the accommodation of multi-protocols and the many types of hardware that go into the development of a single network can significantly drive up the initial costs, said Curtis Price, Director of Network Services, IDC. Relying on middleware that easily handles the complexities of an enterprise RFID deployment reduces the cost of deployment, as well as ongoing maintenance expense, allowing a company to focus on integrating processes that facilitate business decisions and increase the return on investment of a network.

RFID Anywhere 2.0 will also be available as a middleware component of Sybases RFID Enterprise offering, an end-to-end solution that provides the database persistence, process management, and business intelligence necessary for enterprise use of RFID data.

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