The result: better RFID data manageability and understanding at both the network and applications level.
The company announced Oct. 3 that it has received investments from both Cisco Systems, and SAP Ventures, a division of SAP AG.
Reva Systems, of Chelmsford, Mass., develops an RFID network appliance that manages readers and collects data across an RFID implementation—be that a distribution center or retail site.
The appliance can be integrated at the network level—where Cisco plays a big part—and the data integrated at the applications level, where SAP holds a major market share.
"We have a facility level network appliance—we manage readers and make sure tags read properly. Were very strict about the role that we play and the layer we play in," said Tom Schuster, CEO of Reva.
"Thats why were able to get to SAP and Cisco funding and partnerships. Its a ratification of the role we play."
Schuster explained that there are a number of things that need to happen on a local device before information can be passed to applications, including formatting and managing data as it flows to applications. Revas appliance also takes the next step.
"When we pass a tag read up to SAP, we dont just say, This tag has been read X times, we say, This tag went through dock door three and [pallets] are now being stacked. So we add business context to the data."
With Cisco its about producing a unified technology platform, according to Schuster.
"Take for example wireless—the division at Cisco that produced funding for Reva—theyre saying RFID is yet another wireless device that needs to be integrated and managed as a wireless device," he said.
The funding from SAP and Cisco is not about building new products, according to Schuster.
Its about integrating existing products. With SAP, that includes looking at the applications that will consume RFID data—modules that will be used by a manufacturer or retailer—and building connections from there.
With Cisco its about integrating the Reva appliance into the companys networking equipment.
But the SAP and Cisco partnerships are only the beginning, if Schuster has his way.
His goal is to build a global company around RFID—a business that itself is going global. The way to do that, he said, is to build an ecosystem.
"RFID is a global business and were finding in many countries exactly the same issues," said Schuster. "We want partners so we can scale."
Reva also received funding from North Bridge Venture Partners and Charles River Ventures; all-tolled this round its netted about $13.5 million.