Several vendors are introducing new Wi-Fi devices for location services and tracking. According to the Yankee Group, the global location-services market is currently valued at $20 million but is expected to grow to $1.6 billion by 2010.
Ekahau dubbed its new radio tracking device “people tag,” which it plans to start selling for $50 during the latter part of 2007. The water-resistant T301-B tag has built-in 802.11b radio based on a G2 Microsystems chip that allows Ekahau’s Positioning Engine software to identify the wearer’s location, and transmits an alert or a confirmation when the buttons are pressed. Its 2-line, self-illuminating screen allows for viewing of short text messages.
PanGo’s new Wi-Fi enabled V3 tag is now available. It is equipped with an 11b/g chipset from G2 Microsystems, which communicates via two modes — one makes full use of an access point while the other only taps an access point to transmit its MAC address and battery status to identify and locate the user. The tag features the Cisco Certified Extensions Tag Protocol that can connect devices with Cisco’s access points and its 2700 Location Appliance. It operates on one standard AA battery and has a maximum life span of five years.
This month, Trapeze Networks will release its LA200 Location Appliance to the market. The $15,000 system connects to existing wireless LANs to monitor as many as 2,000 wireless devices, like wireless laptops and handhelds, and third-party active Wi-Fi tags. Newbury Networks is providing the core technology called server-side pattern matching. The location technique retrieves the Received Signal Strength Indication reading from a wireless client and transmits this to the server software, which determines the client’s position.