There is more stress on a rim where the spokes exert tension. Reinforcing these areas increases the reliability of the rim without adding excessive weight.
Adding material just where it is needed, and removing it where it isn't, is a great way to increase strength without adding excess weight. The force the spokes exert on the rim is higher where the rim holds the nipple, called the spoke bed. Adding material here increases the rim's strength, while removing material between the spoke beds helps lighten the rim. This process requires careful design, manufacturing, and testing, but the result is a stronger, lighter wheel.