Over this year, we have been talking to a number of partners and customers on the usage of EPCIS. It appears that many companies are in the process of evaluating EPCIS in the form of pilots. Many customers have also insisted on the availability of EPCIS in the middleware platforms that they evaluate.

In the BizTalk RFID 2009 release, we will be releasing client components to enable building of EPCIS Services. What does this mean and why should you care?

EPCIS, in broad terms, consists of a capture service, a query service and a repository. An EPCIS event is posted to a capture service (typically from multiple RFID deployments) and these events are saved to a repository. A standard query interface enables applications to query and retrieve observation events from the repository.

In this release, we will provide the following functionality:-

EPCIS Object Model - This is the CLR object used to represent EPCIS events and EPCIS master data. This object model will be used by BizTalk RFID developers to add context to EPCIS events as well as post it to the Capture Services

The Capture client - The capture client serializes the EPCIS event and posts it to the capture service. It is the responsibility of the capture service to de serialize the EPCIS event

Out of the Box Event Handlers - We will provide two event handlers. The transformation event handler transforms Tag Read/Tag List Events into EPCIS events. An ISV may extend the transformation event handler to add business context (such as bizStep, bizLocation etc) to the EPCIS event. Once the EPCIS event is formed, the Post Event Handler uses the capture client to post the events to the capture service.

Support for .NET Applications - A .net Application may wish to generate EPCIS events. Using the EPCIS OM and the capture client, a .net Application can successfully generate an EPCIS event and post it to the capture service

Extending EPCIS Events - We will also provide the ability to extend pre-defined EPCIS events to enable custom attributes to be added as the ISV chooses.

This infrastructure enables ISVs to build EPCIS applications on top of the BizTalk Server RFID 2009 release.

To illustrate with a diagram:-


Over the next few weeks, we will provide more details of the EPCIS functionality. Let us know if you are working on EPCIS based applications and your thoughts or questions on our offering.