Cisco challenges Symbol in RFID arena

Another front has opened in the competition between Cisco and Symbol -- now in the RFID arena. These two giants of the enterprise WLAN will now compete in a field in which Symbol had made all the early moves, and where RFID readers and related infrastructure are an integral part of its core business.

The immediate challenge will come in the form of the suite of hardware and software Cisco will be offering under the somewhat cumbersome name Intelligent Foundation for Radio Frequency Identification. The RFID modules will complement the company's data center and branch office switches, and Cisco has began to emphasize the fact that RFID capabilities may be readily added to the edge of its networks. Cisco is not stopping there, however. The company has been working on RFID tags, and its acquisition of Airespace would allow it to use the Cisco 2700 wireless location appliance for WLAN location tracking. The emphasis on RFIDs and tracking capabilities is also evident in Cisco's close collaboration with two Massachusetts-based companies -- PanGo Networks of Farmingham and ThingMagic of Cambridge.

For more on Cisco's RFID strategy:
- see Dan Jones's Unstrung report
- check out Cisco's white paper on Cisco RFID-ready networks
- visit the websites of PanGo | ThingMagic

ALSO: The still-in-formation RFID Consortium has designated MPEG LA, a leader in one-stop technology standards patent licensing, to administer a patent licensing arrangement for RFID technology. MPEG LA will administer the process of evaluating and determining patents that are essential for the UHF RFID standard in order to include them in a joint patent portfolio license. Among the companies signing up to become members of the consortium: Alien Technology; Applied Wireless Identification Group (AWID); Avery Dennison; Moore Wallace; Symbol Technologies; ThingMagic; Tyco Fire & Security; and Zebra Technologies. Release

PLUS: HP and Philips Electronics are partnering to accelerate the adoption of the new global EPC Class 1 Generation2 (Gen2) RFID standard, designed to provide customers with interoperable technology, solutions, and services for migration from previous RFID standards. Report

FINALLY: AT&T will early next year begin customer trials of a managed, end-to-end, hosted RFID service, making AT&T the first U.S. network and managed services provider to offer such a service. Release

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