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Microsoft are working on BizTalk Server 2006 R2. Remarkable news was the announcement of a specialist application for RFID, based on BizTalk. The product is called BizTalk RFID, and is included on the installation media of BizTalk Server 2006 R2.


Now, what is this?


In RFID-terms, I think BizTalk RFID is best described as "edgeware". It is meant to sit close to RFID-hardware and related things like printers, actuators and signal lights. This is the RFID-equipment on the shop floor. BizTalk Server 2006 can be used for back-end side integrayon of things.


Traditional problems with end-to-end solutions including RFID hardware is the lack of standardization and the absence of device drivers / controllers for the devices.


Already earlier, many parties have recognized problems related to volumes and grain of detail of data produced by an RFID-landscape. This can not directly be handled by the enterprise (ERP) back end. There are clever products available that can do filter and combine the huge volume of data produced by the RFID-equipment. Only relevant information is exchanged with the enterprise back end. For advanced filtering and combination of RFID-data, a highly configurable produc is required that can persist data (in a dedicated database). This is what I see as RFID-enabled middleware.


A number of RFID-enabled middleware products are meant to be used at HQ-level (i.e. close to the enterprise back end). For large scale RFID-landscapes, there is a need for site-level functionality. Furthermore, the connectivity between middleware and RFID-equipment remains problematic. Vendors of RFID-equipment and middleware point at each other as the best party to produce and maintain the device drivers that will make their products work together.


Now, there is BizTalk RFID. A slim application based on BizTalk Server 2006 R2, that will be distributed along with BizTalk Server 2006 R2. BizTalk RFID is not a full BizTalk server. It offers a number of important features:

  • Connectivity with RFID-hardware and related equipment. It is said that connectivity with hardware representing ~80% of the market will be in place when the product is released;
  • Connectivity to the back end. The product has interfaces for accessing SQL Server and for consuming and publishing web services;
  • Customization possible through the rule engine. This is a somewhat elaborate way of telling the application what to do (already known from other BizTalk-releases). The philosophy behind the rule engine is that "business consultants", who know how the application should behave, not how this is implemented in a technical way, can use the rule engine user interface.


Microsoft see BizTalk RFID acting on DC-level, as the "edgeware". At HQ-level, there will be real middleware (ok, why not BizTalk Server 2006 R2) that connects to the back end. It is said that the pricing model for the products will reflect this.


This is a promising initiative. BizTalk RFID clearly fills a known gap in the RFID-landscapes. Microsoft is powerful and resourceful, and is capable of setting the market standards (for back end integration, something that no other party managed to do so far). As usual, there is a huge incentive to go and use a few other of the Microsoft-products: SQL server and BizTalk Server 2006 R2. Nothing really wrong with that, I would say. If you don´t want to use them, don´t go for BizTalk RFID.


BizTalk Server 2006 R2 has a beta-program. See this link.

Posted on Sunday, April 29, 2007 3:55 AM Tech news | Back to top

Comments on this post: BizTalk Server 2006 R2 - BizTalk RFID

# re: BizTalk Server 2006 R2 - BizTalk RFID
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thank you for this Pr,

i would know how i can download
BizTalk RFID 2006 just RFID
Left by mohamed on Feb 14, 2010 4:43 AM

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