Cisco To Add RFID To Lineup

Under the umbrella heading of Intelligent Foundation for Radio Frequency Identification, Cisco introduced a series of new products and services that aim to ease RFID deployments among enterprise customers as they try to gain control over their supply chains.

The move follows the ongoing trend to build more intelligence into network infrastructure, said David Meany, director of the retail practice within the Internet Business Solutions Group at Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

“Caching, firewalls, encryption, storage, server virtualization are all moving into the network. The same thing will happen with RFID,” Meany said.

Cisco&s strategy brings much-needed integration to the RFID market, said Marlo Brooke, president of Avatar Partners, an RFID-focused solution provider in Irvine, Calif.

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“We&re seeing about 200 to 300 RFID vendors out there that are viable, but many of them are small start-ups that don&t necessarily have the technology and resources to apply open standards and provide value from the integration standpoint,” she said. Open standards are critical, she added. “RFID just cannot work without open standards because really it&s about globalization and sharing of data.”

Cisco plans to offer RFID solutions through its high-end systems integrator partners, Meany said.

On the product front, Cisco is rolling out Application-Oriented Network (AON) for RFID, a module that embeds RFID middleware functions into Cisco&s Catalyst 6500 data center switches and 2800/3800 ISR branch-office routers. Deployed at the network edge, the technology can provide RFID event capture and filtering. In the data center, it offers data authentication, additional filtering and aggregation, as well as application protocol bridging, according to the statement.

Cisco AON for RFID is scheduled to begin shipping in October at a list price of $16,250. Cisco&s RFID services are available now.