SAP AG and Infineon Technologies AG today announced a new radio frequency identification (RFID) offering to meet companies’ needs to connect and manage RFID hardware and software from multiple vendors. Based on the SAP NetWeaver™ technology platform and Infineon’s RFID You-R® OPEN (OPerating ENvironment) device integration platform, the new offering will help companies deploy RFID hardware, devices, tags and software components for RFID-enabled business processes while accelerating return on investment and reducing integration costs and risks.

RFID - Radio Frequency Identification:
RFID is a system for tagging and identifying mobile objects such as store merchandise, postal packages and sometimes living organisms (like pets). Using a special device called an RFID reader, RFID allows objects to be labeled and tracked as they move from place to place.
RFID works using small (sometimes smaller than a fingernail) pieces of hardware called RFID chips. These chips feature an antenna to transmit and receive radio signals. So-called passive RFID chips do not have a power source, but active RFID chips do. RFID chips may be attached to objects, or in the case of some passive RFID systems, injected into objects.

The announcement was made at SAP TechEd® 2004, SAP’s largest developer education conference of the year taking place in San Diego, California, from October 5 to 8 at the San Diego Convention Center, and at the RFID & Contactless Technology Forum of Silicon Trust, an Infineon partnership program, being held on 5. October at the Marriott Hotel in Munich, Germany.

Due to the rapidly growing and changing RFID solutions market, companies are facing the challenge of selecting, integrating and deploying a heterogeneous collection of RFID hardware and software components. SAP and Infineon are now offering companies a complete platform to accelerate deployment and reduce the costs and risks associated with managing RFID components from multiple sources. The platform can manage a full range of RFID implementations, from tags to enterprise applications, including RFID device management, related hardware and software products and services. SAP and Infineon will be offering the platform for pilot implementations in retail organizations as well as more complex installations in the industrial manufacturing, high tech and aerospace industries.

Available immediately, the offering will help companies meet current RFID mandates and scale to support future RFID-enabled business processes. In addition, companies will be able to undertake incremental roll-outs, beginning with basic compliance scenarios, scenarios relating to logistics, vendor-managed inventory and collaborative manufacturing and, as needs arise, moving to RFID industry solutions and full-scale RFID-enabled business processes. By providing an end-to-end, integrated hardware and software solution, SAP and Infineon are offering companies a well-aligned path to meet their requirements.

“The combination of SAP’s leading competence and outstanding customer base in business software solutions and Infineon’s expertise in RFID technology, system integration as well as tailor-made applications will help to accelerate RFID implementations throughout various industries,” said Peter Bauer, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Infineon Technologies AG. “The new scalable solution, which Infineon is already using within its own supply chains, is easy to implement and can grow with the RFID needs of our joint customers, from a simple pilot implementation to a full-scale RFID business process.”

Built on the open SAP NetWeaver technology platform, SAP’s RFID offering includes SAP® Auto-ID Infrastructure, SAP® Event Management (SAP EM) and preconfigured EPC (Electronic Product Code) reports in SAP® Business Information Warehouse and out-of-the-box integration into enterprise resource planning based supply chain execution and asset management processes. SAP’s open Auto-ID Infrastructure, the first of its kind, helps customers automate their RFID implementations and incrementally implement RFID-enabled business processes with backend systems. In addition to the device integration platform offered by Infineon, SAP’s RFID solution can be integrated into device management solutions provided by SAP’s device integration partners.

Infineon’s RFID solution You-R OPEN is an operating environment that links a company’s existing non-RFID-based logistics IT infrastructure to its newly installed RFID-supported logistics infrastructure. You-R OPEN supports the entire RFID hardware landscape - including smart labels, readers, PLCs (Programmable Logic Control), automation devices, PCs, servers, hardware components and IT networks - and also supports EPC (Electronic Product Code) global and other RFID standards. You-R OPEN allows configuration, installation, operation and maintenance of a complete RFID infrastructure by offering a flexible device management interface for all existing RFID reader and printer devices.

“With this offering, companies can accelerate their return on investment in RFID hardware, software and business processes,” said Claus Heinrich, Member of the Executive Board, SAP. “The combined solution from SAP and Infineon will help companies reduce integration costs while giving them the flexibility to rapidly adapt to new processes and changing standards. SAP and Infineon’s proven track record gives companies the stability they need to support a long-term investment in RFID technology and applications.”