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RF Code Opens Software Platform

The provider of active-tag systems is making its RFID software platform work with passive technology from a variety of vendors.
By Bob Violino
Oct 08, 2003By Jonathan Collins

Oct. 9, 2003 - RF Code of Mesa, Ariz., has been selling active (battery-powered) RFID tags and software systems to track objects carrying those tags since 1997. With the market for passive tags taking off, the company is opening up its software infrastructure to passive RFID technology from other hardware vendors. RF Code will sell its TAVIS software platform separately from its own hardware for the first time.
RF Code's Ozer

"This is a stake in the ground showing that we are aggressively going after software licensing in deployments that encompass not just the active RFID but passive technology as well," says Armando Viteri, RF Code's president.

Underlining that goal, the company announced a partnership with passive RFID hardware developer www.samsys.com SAMSys Technologies. RF Code will integrate passive RFID technologies from SAMSys with its own RFID platform. RF Code says it could add support for other hardware vendors, such as Alien Technology, Intermec and Matrics.

While RF Code has modified TAVIS to support equipment from these vendors, the company says it will not develop software to support all rival systems. Instead, it will publish the details of its software drivers so that any company can design software to make the connections possible. Viteri says that having the ability to connect any RFID readers to the TAVIS platform will make the software particularly attractive to RF Code’s traditional resellers, as well as to system integrators that want to deploy RFID systems quickly.

TAVIS uses software drivers to process raw data received from RFID readers. The drivers discern what data needs to be passed on to enterprise systems and in what format and then forward that data to the correct system.

TAVIS drivers can reside on a host computer system running Windows or Linux. But thanks to their small footprint and processing requirements, the Linux version of the drivers can also be embedded in the RFID readers if the reader has a chip running the LinuxSH embedded operating system.

"Part of an application running TAVIS on an RFID device means that information can be collected and processed locally where there is no need for connecting to a network," says Nissim Ozer, CIO and vice president at RF Code. For example, at an access point, a reader running TAVIS on an embedded chip could authorize personnel access upon reading an RFID identity badge. "There could be no need to network that access reader," says Ozer.

This ability to manage data collection from a number of different devices is essential, according to Viteri. "Any large-scale supply chain deployment of RFID will involve a hybrid of technologies, such as active and passive tags, barcodes and GPS," he says.

The company says that unlike startups jumping into this field, it has customers that are already using TAVIS to handle the kind of large volumes of data that the emerging RFID supply chain deployment market will demand.

RF Code will charge companies a one-time license fee for TAVIS, based on the numbers of readers deployed in any project.
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