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Eclipse Platform Authors: Janakiram MSV, Ken Fogel, Marcin Warpechowski, Michael Meiner, Liz McMillan

Article

BEA Adds World-Class RFID Expertise; Acquires ConnecTerra

Pioneering Provider of RFID Infrastructure Software

"ConnecTerra is an exciting acquisition for BEA and our customers," said Alfred Chuang, BEA chairman and chief executive officer, as he announced the acquisition of ConnecTerra, a privately-held pioneer in RFID middleware technology based in Cambridge, Mass. 

"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," Chuang added.

The acquisition is designed to immediately extend the range of the BEA infrastructure portfolio to easily integrate Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other device data as "liquid assets" available across a company's business units, applications and processes. The acquisition, says the company, will help BEA customers address the growing amount of RFID data captured across supply chains.

Founded in 2001, ConnecTerra is a pioneering provider of RFID infrastructure software. More than 25 consumer packaged goods, retail and transportation companies and system integrators rely on innovative ConnecTerra technology for generating new levels of business intelligence. ConnecTerra also plays a leadership role in the groups that are shaping RFID standards, including EPCglobal where ConnecTerra has been a member since 2002, holding leadership roles on the architecture and security committees and contributing to an upcoming "application level events" standard.

According to an AMR Research study, "69 percent of companies surveyed are planning to evaluate, pilot, or implement RFID in 2005." Companies across retail, consumer products, pharmaceuticals, defense, and transportation are rapidly adopting RFID to reduce out-of-stock inventory, counterfeiting and spoilage, increase security of cross-border shipments and track high value assets, among other applications. According to a study, the FDA estimates as much as $40 billion in inventory is lost or stolen annually from the supply chain.

"RFID is a top initiative within Finland Post as we look to optimize the utilization of high-value assets," said Helja Salomaa, logistics director for Finland Post, the national postal operator for Finland. "Over the past year we have worked closely with BEA and ConnecTerra as part of our successful RFID-enabled asset track and trace implementation. We are anticipating millions of dollars of saving and are very excited about the combination of their infrastructure expertise which will allow us to achieve a significant ROI."

ConnecTerra's RFID infrastructure software is designed to provide the core communications, security, policy and device management services, which can be used to integrate devices into a wide range of applications. This includes software at the "edge" for filtering and device management at the local store, manufacturing plant or distribution center level; enterprise level software for centralized RFID data management; and compliance software to address RFID retail and defense mandates. BEA can augment ConnecTerra's RFID software with its industry-leading infrastructure components to help provide a complete solution for customers looking to build new RFID enabled business processes. ConnecTerra and BEA have already worked together successfully over the past year with key customers to create market-specific solution bundles for pallet and case tracking applications in retail as well as mobile asset tracking in transportation.

"RFID can enable a fundamental step change in supply chain visibility and many companies are connecting RFID hardware into existing IT assets," said Wai Wong, BEA's executive vice president of products. "RFID is also generating a flood of new data at the edge. To leverage this enhanced visibility, enterprises need to establish the right architecture to filter and translate RFID data into business relevant events, and then to use these events to create and automate new RFID-enabled business processes. The acquisition of ConnecTerra helps boost our portfolio to help those customers leverage their enterprise assets in a unified way, from the edge all the way to the data center."

BEA and ConnecTerra are continuing to work closely with key RFID business partners, including major systems integrators, software vendors and hardware platform providers.

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