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Sybase looks ahead to RFID

The database and mobile software company is set to reveal details on updates to its flagship products and outline RFID plans.

Sybase is set to outline its radio frequency identification plans and reveal details on updates to its flagship products.

At the company's customer conference in Orlando, Fla., Sybase executives plan to discuss a mobile computing initiative around RFID and recruit customers who are experimenting with radio tags.

The company's RFID-related products are still in development and are not expected to be released until later this year, Kathleen Schaub, vice president of marketing at Sybase, said Friday. She declined to detail the components of Sybase's RFID product suite. But she said the company is focusing its development primarily on managing the data that is collected from remote devices.

"We view RFID as not so much a device or communication problem, although there are aspects of that," Schaub said. "We view it as a data problem, because there are huge volumes of data that come into an organization when you go mobile."

Also at the conference, the company is expected to announce version 15 of its relational database, called Adaptive server Enterprise (ASE). Sybase will begin testing the product next month. It is slated to be released in the summer of 2005.

The new edition is designed to speed up application development, with improved support for Web services, and to beef up security. ASE 15 will allow customers to encrypt data stored in individual fields of the database.

The company also plans to release its development tool, PowerBuilder 10, with more visual tools for fetching XML data. Sybase has shipped a separate product, called DataWindow.Net, which allows developers to use the database query tool from PowerBuilder in Microsoft Visual Studio.Net, Borland C# Builder, or other .Net development tools.

Sybase, once one of the top database providers, has seen its market share in that industry slip over the past decade to about 3.5 percent last year, according to research firm IDC. In an effort to regain lost ground, the company has constructed a complete mobile computing product line , which includes a database for handheld devices, development tools and servers.