With the imminent release of BizTalk Server 2009, the BizTalk RFID team is proud of the products' growing support for industry standards. In this emerging technology, standards are critical to mass adoption. Enterprises can confidently adopt the technology without fear of being locked into one vendor. One could envision multiple software and service layers being supplied by various vendors that inter-operate well due to support for existing standards. Customers have become very well informed of the existing standards in this space.
On that general note, BizTalk RFID is rapidly becoming best of breed for support for many industry standards.
Our LLRP implementation is shipped out of box in BTS 2009 as a LLRP Provider and is compatible with many industry heavyweight LLRP implementations such as Impinj, Motorola and Intermec. Not only do we use LLRP to communicate with fixed UHF readers, but we also use the protocol in our store and forward service on BizTalk RFID Mobile and for remote management of RF modules on mobile devices. Very innovative way of finding another use case for the LLRP protocol.
On the device management side, discovery of devices is a major pain for adoption. How many times have you had to manually enter IP addresses of devices to provision them to some middleware? Don't you wish that device discovery is truly plug and play. With the emerging WS-Discovery standard [OASIS will ratify this standard in June 2009], discovery of devices in the same subnet will be truly plug and play. With the Discovery proxy support in Windows 7, one could extend this to discover devices across the entire enterprise. What does BizTalk RFID do to enable discovery? We ship a discovery library in BizTalk RFID 2009 that enables any device provider to use it and discover WS-Discovery enabled devices. The device developer would have to implement WS-Discovery on the device. There are freely available DPWS (Device Profile for Web Services stacks) on the web today. DPWSCORE is a popular open source DPWS stack that works on Windows, Linux etc. In the future, we do plan to build discovery in the platform as we believe it is a core platform feature.
While discovery is a start, there are other aspects of device management such as initialization (firmware update), configuration and monitoring that scream for standardization. Why should customers pay the price for having to learn to multiple different ways of doing the same thing, especially if they have a multi vendor policy. We are hard at work in ISO/SC31/WG4/SG1 with our partners to define a web service standard for RFID device management. This is called RFID Device Management Profile (RDMP) and is layered on top of DPWS and WS-Discovery. More to come later, when I am allowed to share details...
Leaving the device world for a bit, EPCIS has been making waves in the industry. BizTalk RFID steps into EPCIS by providing solid support to build a capture client application. We ship a powerful Object Model for EPCIS that has support for base EPCIS events (object etc) and user extensions of base events. There are two samples that ship as well - the EPCIS transform event handler enables a developer to add business context to a Tag Read Event and generate an EPCIS event. The MSMQ event handler then enables EPCIS events to be persisted in a MSMQ to be then consumed by a capture client to forward to a capture service. The capture client would use the capture client SDK to post to a capture service. I will post a follow up with more details on EPCIS OM and our roadmap for rounding out our EPCIS support.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, leave a comment and I will be glad to reply