The infrastructure works, in part, by providing a unique identifier within R3 to each event. Blanchard said SAP will also support RFID data in its advanced planning optimization suite. "It will be event driven rather than planning driven," Blanchard said.
In a second stage, SAP applications will be designed to enable sharing information across enterprises using the NetWeaver platform, for example.
The significance of RFID data cannot be overstated, according to Greenbaum. "Location and product description is at the heart of the commerce chain," he said.
Oracle is attacking the new data stream on three fronts, according to Jon Chorley, Oracle's director of Inventory and CPG Development
The next iteration of Oracle's Application Server 11i.10, which will be released in nine and 12 months, will have extensions that talk to RFID readers. Once read, Oracle's e-business suite will give its customers the ability to use the data to kick off a business transaction.
"When a palette comes off a truck or is loaded onto a truck it can create a receipt without user interaction," Chorley said. In the future, he continued, business processes will change with wide spread adoption of RFID. Database capabilities will have to be extended to reflect more complex queries such as tracking the life history of a container of milk to see how long it was outside its temperature tolerance.
"That kind of query is extremely difficult to construct, and it is a performance challenge using current techniques," Chorley said.
IBM demonstrated its RFID capabilities earlier this month at the Electronic Code Symposium. Big Blue was able to track and handoff RFID data from manufacturer to warehouse to distributor to retail to sale without actually moving the data between systems.
"We can access all of those systems, federate the data from multiple, heterogeneous sources, and have it respond to a single database query," said Dan Wolfson, distinguished engineer at IBM Software Group. The capability was demonstrated using IBMs DB2 Information Integrator product launched about 3 months ago.
Once RFID technologies begin handling item-level tracking, such as an individual can of soda, it will give managers an increased ability to see into their supply chain. However, companies will need to move from so-called constraint-based planning applications to applications that can react in real time. "It will blur the line between execution and planning," Oracle's Chorley said.
That's an opinion shared by almost all of the players in the RFID industry. By designing models that are based on data captured through RFID, companies will have computers, not people, directing the distribution of goods, pricing models, and advertising models.
"It will be better than what currently exists today, because it is based on real-world data, and computers can digest thousands of more variables to make decisions," Sun's Clark said.