SOURCE: IBM

August 01, 2006 12:00 ET

IBM Unveils Tools to Help Developers and Students Build Skill Set for Creating and Implementing RFID Solutions

Free Educational and Training Resources to Boost RFID Skills for Booming Industry

ARMONK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 1, 2006 -- Continuing its mission to deliver the latest emerging technologies to developers, businesses and universities, and to drive the development of critical IT skills, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) software tools and training resources. The new offerings are being delivered by IBM at no charge in an effort to accelerate the understanding and adoption of RFID, and address the need for RFID skills in this growing and emerging market opportunity.

According to a recent report from analyst firm Aberdeen Group, an obstacle in the adoption of RFID is the shortage of internal RFID skills that companies are experiencing. By sharing its expertise in RFID technologies, IBM is enabling businesses of all sizes to learn about RFID and simulate how these emerging technologies can improve the way in which products and goods are handled and tracked across enterprises and geographies.

Highlights of today's announcement include:

--  A graphical tool that allows developers to simulate how an actual RFID
    solution can help their business.
    
--  An educational toolkit that equips developers and students with the
    resources to understand how RFID technologies work, how to develop RFID
    enabled applications, and best practices for implementing RFID solutions.
    
--  A tool that enables developers to create applications that are ready
    to interact and respond to the events that take place within a given RFID
    system.
    
All of these technologies and learning resources are now available on alphaWorks, IBM's online outlet for emerging technologies. alphaWorks is part of IBM's growing developer network with nearly 5.5 million registered users worldwide. Over 90 of the Fortune 100 companies access alphaWorks technologies.

"There remains an elephant in the room that organizations have only recently begun to notice, and it's large enough to threaten the success of many RFID projects," said David Sommer, vice president, The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). "We conducted a survey of solution providers, consultants, system integrators, and end-users of RFID technology earlier this year and found that RFID deployments continue to be hampered by a shortage of individuals skilled in the technology."

These tools and resources are now available at no charge in an effort to promote the development of RFID skills both at the business and university level. IBM is collaborating with universities and providing students with RFID resources and training to accelerate the development of those skills by offering a wide range of technical and educational resources.

For example, IBM and the RFID Research Center, housed in the Information Technology Research Institute in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, are working together on a project which aims to automatically identify inefficiencies in large quantities of RFID data and then implement process changes to improve efficiency and return on investment.

"As the demand for emerging technologies like RFID continues to rise, IBM is committed to providing developers and students with tools and resources needed to work with these technologies, and obtain jobs in the IT industry," said Buell Duncan, general manager, ISV & Developer Relations, IBM. "Today's announcement is yet another step in IBM's critical mission to establish long-standing relationships with developers and students, and provide them with a set of innovative resources to help expand their skill set."

RFID Resources Available Today

IBM's new RFID Integrated Solution Enablement (RISE) is the company's latest effort to help clients identify the business need for RFID and create a customized solution that fits their needs. The toolkit, developed by IBM researchers in the IBM Watson Research Center and in the IBM Korea Ubiquitous Computing Lab, enables developers to draw models of potential RFID solution implementations using pre-built components, test them against specific behaviors and variables, and then tie them to the specific devices and platforms for deployment.

As a result, developers can see how the RFID solution works among different customers' requirements, and how information would flow across various software components and devices within the solution. This can help accelerate RFID technology adoption by reducing the overall cost of implementing RFID solutions through their lifecycles.

In addition to introducing the RISE toolkit, IBM is also unveiling two development kits to help developers and students meet the growing demands in the marketplace for a trained and skilled RFID staff.

--  IBM's RFID Device Development Kit is an educational toolkit that helps
    developers and students accelerate their learning curve and build
    applications that run in a real world RFID environment. The toolkit builds
    on a repository of more than 300 RFID-specific resources, including
    technical articles, tutorials and information, available on developerWorks,
    the skills-building hub of IBM's developer network.
    
--  The Application Level Events (ALE) Preview for RFID enables developers
    to create applications that read events from RFID devices and then easily
    display the event notices on a web browser. This allows developers to build
    RFID capabilities into applications at an earlier stage.
    
Resources highlighting IBM's Clipped Tag technology, a tag designed to help protect consumer privacy while maintaining the benefits of RFID technology, are also available to developers on alphaWorks.

For more information, go to the RFID section of alphaWorks, available at: http://www.ibm.com/alphaworks/topics/rfid.

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