Microsoft readying RFID products

The software giant is targeting large corporations and small businesses with a raft of new RFID products

Microsoft is planning to publish details of forthcoming radio-frequency identification (RFID) products this autumn.

Javed Sikander, Microsoft's RFID programme manager, said on Thursday that the company plans to add RFID support to its core software and is also working on RFID products for small companies.

"Major retailers like Wal-Mart and Tesco rely on small suppliers, who often can't afford to buy expensive RFID services from several different suppliers," said Sikander. "They need an out-of-the-box RFID solution that they can just plug in."

Sikander, who was speaking at the RFID Forum, added that Microsoft was also working to add RFID functionality to its backend software so that other companies could develop services for large firms.

However, he declined to reveal full details of Microsoft's plans, explaining that the company was attending the Forum to "share its vision and direction, not its detailed road map".

This road map, though, should be unveiled in the next three months.

"Some RFID products and services will be launched by Microsoft next year," hinted Sikander, adding that this would cover both the high-end and SME space.

Microsoft also published a survey on Thursday that found that 60 percent of companies either haven't heard about RFID or think they don't really understand it.

According to Sikander, more effort needs to be made to persuade companies that RFID has genuine potential and can generate a significant return on investment.

For more on RFID, visit ZDNet UK's Special Report and Toolkit.