Reva Systems Corp., a small startup thats been in stealth mode for the past year, has announced an interesting concept around RFID device implementation and management.
In addition to officially launching itself as a radio-frequency identification company, Reva released the details of its TAN (Tag Acquisition Network), a network-centric architecture for implementing and managing RFID tags, readers and subsequent data.
"[The idea] is to implement a TAN in each facility where [a company] needs to capture and use RFID data," said David Husak, Revas chief technology officer and co-founder. "Components of RFID plug into the network ... pushing information to middleware or pushing directly to applications."
The concept behind TAN is that an RFID architecture should be able to fit into an existing enterprise model, rather than requiring an enterprise to build a separate infrastructure to accommodate RFID, according to Reva officials. With this in mind, the company developed TAN to work on the same principles as a LAN or SAN (storage area network), operating on the network concept.
TAN actually is designed to link to a companys wired or wireless LAN with a common protocol network layer. Similar to the concept of managing printers through a LAN, individual readers are administered through an enterprise network manager system or assigned IP addresses. Using standard interfaces, users can then add and remove readers through a centralized server.
"What we foresee is, as RFID is rolled out in any sort of scale, it has to dovetail in with other technologies in the same way that wireless and Wi-Fi rolled into the enterprise," said Husak in Chelmsford, Mass. "It wasnt rational to go out and build an architecture for Wi-Fi."
The catch, however, is that not only does Reva still have some work to do in terms of product development, but the RFID standards that TAN emphasizes, in many cases, are not even ratified.
No standards exist to define a network-to-reader protocol that would allow readers from different manufacturers to be interchangeable within TAN. To further the effort, Reva has developed a protocol, Simple Lightweight RFID Reader Protocol—with the unfortunate acronym SLRRP—and submitted it to both EPCglobal Inc. and the Internet Engineering Task Force; the latter creates Internet standards. EPCglobal, meanwhile, is also in development with its Application Level Event Standard, which would define a standard way for moving data to applications.