Already a decade? For reels?

Valentine’s Day 2021 represents a special anniversary for reelyActive: ten years ago today the first sketches of the “reel” concept were inscribed in Jeff’s notebook below (left page).

Reel sketches

At the time, the concept was entitled daisy chain / icicle light receivers, the idea being that radio receivers could be connected in series like strings of lights. At scale, we imagined long cables of equally spaced receivers being distributed on reels, hence the term reelceiver which would later be adopted. In fact, reelyActive owes its name to the reel concept combined with active radio-frequency identification (RFID).

Reel pitch

The first pitch of the reel to prospective co-founders, illustrated in the slide above, took place seven months later. And, thanks to co-founder Traian’s assembly of the first JTR-02 prototypes on New Year’s Eve, the first successful test of daisy-chained reelceivers would take place on New Year’s Day 2012, as seen in the photo below, in the building adjacent to that of the world’s first scheduled radio broadcast.

First reelceiver test

The first generation of reelceivers greatly simplified asset tracking and personnel tracking applications using our own 915MHz active RFID tags, but the real (reel?) breakthrough came in 2013 when Bluetooth Low Energy first became standard on consumer mobile devices. With a second-generation reelceiver able to detect any Bluetooth Low Energy device, the concept of bring-your-own-device real-time location (BYOD RTLS) became a distinct possibility:

In 2021, even after eight years, that same Bluetooth Low Energy reelceiver continues to gain in relevance and is a part of all of our ambient data gateways in one of several modular forms. And our reel technology page outlines why:

The reel overcomes the power & connectivity challenge inherent to every deployment. Simply be plugging together ubiquitous network cables, both power and connectivity are delivered with bulletproof reliability.

In fact, there are reelceivers which have been in continuous operation since 2012, save for the power and network outages from which they have always automatically recovered!

Reel of Three

Admittedly, the insight behind the reel is non-obvious to those whom have never faced the challenge of deploying infrastructure throughout a “smart space”. Perhaps it is therefore fitting that the flagship deployment of our unique reel architecture is in a building of truly unique architecture itself: the world’s tallest inclined tower!

Reel Inclined Tower

As we discuss in our previous blog post, the reel infrastructure in the Desjardins DTM deployment in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium Tower enables use cases that we hadn’t even imagined when the reel concept itself was first imagined a decade ago today.

The reel is today enabling use cases we hadn’t even imagined when the concept itself was first imagined a decade ago.

Indeed, the reel has stood the test of time, remaining not only relevant—but also peerless—over the past decade. And, even if today our leading product and innovation has become our Pareto Anywhere open source software in lieu of the enabling hardware, we could not be more proud to have the novel reel as the namesake of reelyActive.

Happy Valentine’s Day!   For reels!