Reva Systems Corp., a newly launched RFID networking company, announced its Tag Acquisition Processor last week, an offering that amounts to a rack-mounted, standards-based device for managing facilitywide radio-frequency identification readers.
The Reva TAP, which supports both current readers and the upcoming Generation Two readers, manages RFID readers at the system level. It provides a number of capabilities, including coordinating read schedules and optimizing the use of RF spectrum across a facility.
At the same time, location virtualization capabilities let users see refined tag events linked to specific locations, versus seeing every tag event that crosses a readers threshold.
TAP also takes the RFID data acquired from readers and pumps it into transaction applications, which represents an interesting opportunity for Reva outside networking.
The box, which is relatively inexpensive (about $10,000 for the base unit), takes the place of RFID middleware in cases where in-depth integration is not necessary. TAP takes data from readers and, through a basic interface, transmits the data to applications.
"We expect customers to have a new choice when rolling out RFID in an enterprise," said Ashley Stephenson, CEO and co-founder of Reva, in Chelmsford, Mass. "If youre using [TAP] in one of your facilities, typically you would not need to have RFID middleware as well."
To this end, Reva has developed interfaces into SAP AGs ERP (enterprise resource planning) environment, as well as application interfaces for data access with JMS (Java Message Service) and SQL databases. Similarly, Reva supports access to RFID data from standard interfaces, such as those defined by EPCglobal Inc.
Matthew Wylie, senior executive with the Communications and High Tech Operating Group at Accenture, beta tested Revas TAP box in Accentures New Jersey lab. "The benefit we saw is ... right now, so much data is being generated, and companies dont know what to do with it or how to handle it. Reva solves that to some extent by keeping data at the [component] level, and it just passes cleansed data back to the application," said Wylie in Florham Park, N.J.
TAP represents the first step down the line of what Stephenson hopes will become ubiquitous TANs (Tag Acquisition Networks)—essentially facility-based architectures that manage RFID tags, readers and the subsequent data.
The idea is to implement a TAN in each facility where a company needs to capture RFID data through components such as TAP that plug into the network and push data to applications or middleware. The concept behind TANs is that an RFID architecture should be able to fit into an existing enterprise model, rather than an enterprise having to build out a separate infrastructure to accommodate RFID, according to Reva officials.