AT&T Launches Trial of Managed, End-to-End, Hosted RFID Service


Company Joins EPCglobal US, Illustrating Commitment to Standards-Based RFID Technology

BEDMINSTER, N.J., Sept. 13 -- AT&T today announced customer trials starting early next year of a managed, end-to-end, hosted Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) service, making AT&T the first U.S. network and managed services provider to offer such a service.

AT&T today also announced that it has joined EPCglobal US, an affiliate of EPCglobal Inc, serving subscribers in the United States to help foster the adoption of the EPCglobal Network(TM) and related technology. The EPCglobal Network combines RFID technology, existing communications network infrastructure, and the Electronic Product Code (EPC) to enable accurate, cost-efficient visibility of information in the supply chain.

During the 90-day RFID service trials, AT&T will design, deploy and manage integrated, end-to-end RFID solutions, which extend from AT&T's IP network and Internet Data Centers into customer-premises infrastructure, including RFID readers, edge devices and software, local area networks, firewalls and routers. Although AT&T customers have been using the company's services to piece together their own custom-built RFID solutions for some time, the new AT&T service integrates its services-network integration and consulting, IP transport, hosting, storage, managed applications and security-into a single managed service specifically for RFID.

The managed RFID service is intended to help businesses and government agencies rapidly deploy and scale trusted end-to-end RFID solutions without significant capital investment, while securely storing and protecting their RFID data in AT&T's Internet Data Centers. The service is designed to support contactless payment, the latest trend in retail payment applications because of its speed and convenience, as well as asset tracking, asset management and security applications for the manufacturing, transportation, retail and government sectors.

The trials will address some of the key challenges businesses and government agencies face in deploying and leveraging RFID to drive process efficiencies. These challenges include:

o Radio frequency engineering and deployment;
o Significant investment in RFID infrastructure;
o Scalability from small RFID pilots to enterprise-wide, production-strength deployments;
o Storage and protection of the increasing amounts of RFID data; and
o Secure sharing of RFID data across suppliers, partners and customers.

"There's a need for an honest broker in the RFID game," stated Christine Spivey Overby, Principal Analyst with Forrester Research Inc., in a recent report. "Telcos have stacks of experience in handling large volumes of business-critical data, and they know highly distributed networking better than most. Additionally, telcos have valuable security, radio planning and data hosting expertise, plus thousands of skilled engineers that could help with RFID hardware installations at a local level."(1)

The RFID trials will leverage AT&T's high-performing IP network, highly secure Internet Data Centers, managed services expertise, and its industry-leading integrated Global Enterprise Management System (iGEMS). Developed by AT&T Labs, iGEMS is a sophisticated network management platform that enables AT&T to monitor and manage performance across customer networks, servers and applications, enabling AT&T to predict and solve problems before they become evident to a customer.

"Today, most RFID applications are designed for inventory and asset tracking. The goal is to eventually have RFID on every item in the supply chain, which will usher in a new wave of object to object communication and collaboration," said Hossein Eslambolchi, AT&T chief technology officer and president of AT&T Labs.

RFID is one of the key technologies behind the emerging trend in extending IP to enable the autonomous networking of physical objects, such as pallets, cars and cattle, with embedded sensors and chips. AT&T is looking at RFID as one of the first remote sensors that will enable this autonomous networking, which could give businesses and government agencies unprecedented visibility into their supply chains.

"AT&T is committed to helping businesses and government agencies fully realize the promise of RFID and the demand-driven enterprise, as well as comply with various RFID mandates, while minimizing investment in infrastructure and personnel through a managed, hosted, pay-per-use service," said Eric Shepcaro, vice president, business strategy and development, AT&T. "In addition, our participation in EPCglobal US is further evidence of our commitment to the emerging RFID market, which complements our WiFi, WiMax and other wireless initiatives."

As a subscriber to EPCglobal US, AT&T will provide support for adoption of the EPCglobal Network and in the creation of industry standards for RFID technology. Developed by the Auto-ID Center, a unique partnership of nearly 100 global companies and five of the leading research universities in the world that explores the benefits and impacts of EPC technology, the EPCglobal Network enables real-time identification and sharing of information. The Auto-ID Center transitioned to EPCglobal on November 1, 2003.

Mike Meranda, President of EPCglobal US, said, AT&T's participation is a strong indication of the technology's importance to businesses and in serving consumers alike. "We applaud AT&T's commitment to working with our community in the development of an open and standards-based commercialization of the EPCglobal Network and RFID technology."

About AT&T

For more than 125 years, AT&T (NYSE "T") has been known for unparalleled quality and reliability in communications. Backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs, the company is a global leader in local, long distance, Internet and transaction-based voice and data services.

About EPCglobal Inc

EPCglobal Inc, a joint venture between GS1 (formerly EAN International) and GS1 US Inc. (formerly the Uniform Code Council, Inc.(R)), is a not-for-profit organization entrusted by industry to establish and support the EPCglobal Network as the global standard for real-time, automatic identification of information in the supply chain of any company, anywhere in the world. For more information about EPCglobal, please visit http://www.epcglobalinc.org/.

About EPCglobal US

EPCglobal US is an affiliate of EPCglobal Inc serving subscribers in the United States to help foster the adoption of the EPCglobal Network and related technology. The EPCglobal Network combines radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, existing communications network infrastructure, and the Electronic Product Code(TM) (a number for uniquely identifying an item) to enable accurate, cost-efficient visibility of information in the supply chain. The end result helps organizations be more efficient, flexible, and responsive to customer needs. For more information about EPCglobal US(TM), please visit http://www.epcglobalus.org/.

EPCglobal US(TM) is an affiliate of EPCglobal Inc serving subscribers in the United States to help foster the adoption of the EPCglobal Network and related technology.

1. Source: RFID: The Complete Guide by Christine Spivey Overby, Sharyn Leaver, Noha Tohamy, Lars Godell, Navi Radjou, Laura Ramos and Simon Yates, Spring 2005.

CONTACT: Joyce Van Duzer of AT&T, office: +1-908-234-6846, mobile: +1-732-927-0577, jvanduzer@att.com

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