Startup Raves on RFID

Startup Reva Systems emerges, offering to ease the strain of RFID deployments

June 6, 2005

3 Min Read
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Startup Reva Systems Corp. emerged from stealth today, pinning its hopes on the burgeoning market for radio frequency identification (RFID) products.

RFID has been much hyped as a tracking technology that's hardier, easier to implement, and more flexible than bar-code scanning. The technology is taking hold among retailers and manufacturers. Wal-Mart, for example, gave its top 100 suppliers a January 1st deadline for RFID compliance.

However, as more and more users look to deploy RFID, the amount of data generated by the RFID readers that are used to draw information from RFID-tagged items could place a major strain on servers and storage, as inventory movements potentially generate millions of transactions (see Middleware Players Eye RFID). Earlier this year, analyst firm IDC warned that the success of future RFID rollouts rests on the ability of enterprise networks to cope with the influx of data (see IDC: RFID Success Depends on Networks).

Enter Reva Systems, which plans to offer a specialized device positioned behind Ethernet switches connected to the RFID readers. Essentially, the box will collect, process, and store data, easing the strain on back-end servers, according to Reva CTO Dave Husak, who promised that the device will make its debut sometime later this year. We’re committed to launching the product within 60 to 90 days,” he says.

Husak refuses to explain exactly how the device will work, but he confirms that the box will have its own internal storage. Reva Systems is touting this technology approach as the Tag Acquisition Network (TAN), although Husak doesn't say what the new product will be called.Husak says Reva Systems is working with “several” unnamed vendors that are creating middleware to cope with back-end RFID challenges. The idea is that Reva's product could work with the middleware to streamline deployments.

So far, vendors such as BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) are advancing RFID middleware. IBM has already adapted its popular WebSphere middleware product to monitor RFID-related activity, and BEA has been hard at work on its new RipCurl offering.

Intriguingly, the CTO says that the firm has also been “engaged” with Wal-Mart and some other retailers. But he says there will be no naming of early adopters or beta customers until Reva launches its flagship technology later this year.

At least one analyst thinks Reva's on the right track. “I am not aware of anyone else doing this,” says Joel Conover, principal analyst at Current Analysis. “If you don’t aggregate this data you put a lot of undue strain on the whole system.”

Conover warns that the startup’s biggest challenge is persuading other suppliers to integrate with them. “They have got to hope and pray that everyone sees this as a good idea."Reva Systems was founded back in April 2004 by Husak, who is also the one-time CTO and founder of network processor vendor C-Port, and Ashley Stephenson, the former chairman of Internet access equipment specialist Xedia Corp. C-Port was acquired by Motorola Computer Group back in 2000, and Xedia was snapped up by Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) in 1999.

Reva clinched $6 million in Series A funding shortly after its founding, backed by Charles River Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners.

Based in Chelmsford, Mass., the company has around 25 employees, although Husak says this figure will grow to around 35 by the end of the year.

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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