Tech Ed Tidbits From RFID To Workflow

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Microsoft did, in fact, talk about Windows Workflow Services last week in Orlando.

At Tech Ed 2005, Microsoft SVP Bob Muglia toldCRN that the evolution of the services, under development by the BizTalk group (other sources say third parties as well) will -"um--flow over time into SharePoint, Longhorn and the full array of Microsoft desktop and business applications.

Workflow is a key foundational capability and Microsoft now fields a lot of different workflow piece-parts. Settling on a single core that runs throughout the lineup would please solution providers who now may need to parse the niceties of different workflows within MS-CRM, SQL Server, BizTalk, Content Management Server and yes now Groove as well. Phew.

One interesting related question is whether the net number of Microsoft servers will expand or contract. Some indicators--like the merging of SharePoint and Content Management Server capabilities--indicate that the company knows it has a server SKU explosion on its hands. But then again, a raft of new Office Servers is also planned. Microsoft envied IBM's success with WebSphere branding but was also the first to point out that WebSphere-label encompassed a bewildering array of servers and capabilities. Even some of IBM's closest partners get confused by the array. Now Microsoft faces a similar dilemma.


Meanwhile, nascent Microsoft RFID capabilities demo'd at the show have got some partners excited.

While Microsoft was fairly mum on actual deliverables, it promised to come out with RFID foundational technologies next year. Infosys, the huge integrator out of Bangalore is bullish. Infosys, will be able to build atop the Microsoft code for more specific verticals. With more plumbing built in, Infosys can get RFID solutions to market faster and at lower cost, says Infosys' Shashi Vempati, a solution manager with expertise both horizontal markets and the retail vertical.

New retailer mandates are bound to drive more RFID adoption. Best Buy, for example, expects suppliers of high-margin consumer electronics and appliance goods to support RFID by next January. That way deliveries and inventories can be tracked. But that infrastructure will also move more RFID implementations from the stock room out into store aisles, says Vempati and his colleague Badri Devalla, solution lead for RFID in Infosys' high-tech and discrete manufacturing industries group.

"One holy grail of RFID is adoption at the store level and that's starting to happen," says Vempati.


If you haven't already, check out this great New York Times story.

Can you imagine the egos from Redmond coming into full-frontal contact with the super-egos of Hollywood? Well it's apparently happened. Microsoft and its CAA uber-agents were reportedly a little too high handed even by film biz standards. Microsoft/CAA, according to this account, scared most of the potential studios off with their demands for making a big-screen adaptation of the Halo game. Of course, it appears there will be such a movie, but not on the epic scale Microsoft had hoped.

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