John Jordan writes:
ThingMagic builds tag-agnostic RFID readers that are more like routers than radios. As the company’s VP for development puts it, “The new RFID readers are designed to provide the functionality of a gateway for large networks. RF interfaces to the tags reside on one side of a reader, with a database server and a TCP/IP network interface on the other side, fully equipped to be part of a networked-distributed data aggregation and analysis system.” Network-friendly functionality, including load-balancing, quality of service, and security, is now provided by the readers. These can handle active and passive tags, including those in any geography and written to any standard. The company, an MIT spinout, has raised $21 million, including $6 million from Cisco and Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte in February. It has been profitable for all of its five-plus years.
While RFID adoption has widely been reported to be slower than expected, a new generation of tags and readers, including ThingMagic’s, is expected to accelerate the pace of adoption: Bear Stearns reported this week that WalMart had purchased 15,000 fixed readers from ThingMagic’s competitors Alien and Impinj while Albertson’s bought 5,000 fixed readers from Symbol.