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BEA Systems Acquires ConnecTerra

Enterprise infrastructure software giant BEA Systems today announced that it has acquired middleware provider ConnecTerra of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Oct 11, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

October 11, 2005—Enterprise infrastructure software giant BEA Systems, headquartered in San Jose, California, today announced that it has acquired middleware provider ConnecTerra of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Financial terms were not disclosed. According to the announcement, the acquisition is designed to immediately extend the range of BEA infrastructure to integrate RFID and other device data from across the enterprise.

ConnecTerra is a familiar name to those who follow the RFID industry. It is one of the leading middleware vendors, claiming 25 clients from across the CPG, retail, and transportation sectors. It was founded in 2001 and counts Sun Microsystems among its investors. ConnecTerra is an active EPCglobal member; CTO Ken Traub sits on the Architecture Review Committee and co-chairs the Filtering and Collection Working Group, while Director of Security Chet Birger is chair of the Security Working Group. Additionally, the company is a co-inventor of the recently ratified Application Level Events (ALE) standard, a software interface that allows the filtering and collection of RFID-generated EPC data.

Publicly-traded BEA is a billion-dollar company with 77 offices in 37 countries. The company was founded in 1995, and has experienced huge growth over the last ten years. It currently has about 3,300 employees, and its flagship product is the WebLogic Platform.

ConnecTerra and BEA have already been working together for more than a year on retail and mobile asset tracking initiatives. By absorbing the functionality of ConnecTerra's software platform, BEA aims to offer an end-to-end RFID software solution. Said the company's CEO Alfred Chuang, "Most of the early RFID adopters are already using BEA and ConnecTerra technologies, and this gives us the industry's first end-to-end standards-based infrastructure for RFID -- from the capture of raw RFID events to the translation of those events into relevant business data." To elaborate, the following reasons were offered during the analyst conference call today as BEA's strategic rationale for the acquisition:
  • Acquisition of world-class RFID products, expertise, and customers across key verticals
  • Creates differentiated offering: first end-to-end, standards-based RFID infrastructure stack
  • Creates new customer opportunities and expands relationship within existing accounts; large number of early RFID adopters already WebLogic users
  • Represents first step in larger vision of extending BEA infrastructure to the edge of the enterprise
  • RFID market gaining momentum as customers move from pilot to production deployments
The acquisition bears out the July prediction by ABI Research's Director of RFID and Ubiquitous Networks Erik Michielsen, who wrote that the RFID application space was headed for a near-term "shakeout" (see our story). According to Michielsen, there is an oversupply of RFID application software and increasing overlap in functionality between the offerings of smaller middleware shops like ConnecTerra and entrenched enterprise software giants like SAP, creating a market inefficiency that is ripe for correction by consolidation. Now the question is: will OATSystems or GlobeRanger be next?

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