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Oracle, Intel partner on radio ID technology

Partnership will focus on key concern about RFID--what to do with all the information that the systems are expected to generate.

Oracle and Intel are working together on technology to sort through torrents of data arriving with ever more popular radio frequency identification networks, the companies said on Tuesday.

RFID is an emerging electronic identification technology that companies are using to do everything from manage retail inventory to find lost kids at theme parks. Some of the most avid fans of the technology are chain stores, which expect RFID to shrink inventory costs, curb merchandise theft and deliver a host of other benefits.

Oracle's partnership with Intel highlights a key concern about RFID--what to do with all the information that the systems are expected to generate.

Companies expect to be flooded with data as they place special microchips--RFID tags--on items they want to track. The tags signal their location across a network of readers placed at key points, such as shipping docks, warehouses, store exits and entry points. Computers gather and store the data. Retailers envision slapping RFID tags on billions of items, in hopes of replacing bar codes someday.

Oracle and Intel said they plan to build new technology incorporating one another's products, including Oracle's application server, database management software and business applications. Handheld computers, RFID readers, PCs and servers that contain Intel's microprocessors will also be involved, the companies said.

"The magnitude of data created from RFID networks each day requires robust data management capabilities and significant computing power," the companies said in a press release.

In addition to the Intel deal, Oracle announced several other RFID projects on Tuesday at the RFID Journal Live conference in Chicago. One is an effort to sign on more RFID partners with the launch of its Sensor-Based Services Initiative. Sixty software, hardware and computer services companies have already joined, the company said. Oracle plans to provide them with training, support and technical know-how.

Oracle has also formed a partnership with RFID start-up Xpaseo, which makes devices that parse and monitor RFID-related data. The firms have agreed to make their wares more compatible.

Oracle has plenty of competition in the RFID data management market. Big rivals include IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, SAP and Microsoft.