Wi-Fi Gets Push Into RFID

By Eric Griffith

June 29, 2004

AeroScout, one of the 'active tag' makers using Wi-Fi for asset tracking, gets a boost by teaming with an established maker of real-time management solutions.

AeroScout of San Mateo, Calif. -- formerly Bluesoft, now renamed to take advantage of the brand recognition of its product -- is one of a couple of "active tag" makers out there, using Wi-Fi technology for advanced asset tracking akin to what RFID is meant to do on a smaller scale. With Wi-Fi, the tracking is more than just real-time, but also can be location-enabled.

Now the company has entered into an integration agreement with Apriso Corporation of Long Beach, Calif., a maker of tools for monitoring supply, production and distribution processes in real time. The company is in the middle of making a push into RFID, enabling their entire application suite for tracking. In addition to offering the usual passive tags, Apriso will be using AeroScout T2 tags for tracking larger and more expensive items that need to be monitored for location in real time.

"This is an integration agreement," says Andris Berzins, vice president of marketing & business development at AeroScout. "We go into the supply chain with them. They're very well established -- many major manufacturers are using their software to manage real time execution of processes."

Apriso will be reselling AeroScout tags and the software architecture for tracking them. While generally installed on the same server, the AeroScout software is separate from Apriso's FlexNet tool, but integrated enough through an API to read the data. The integration will come in a future service release for FlexNet. The AeroScout platform can also keep track of the location of Wi-Fi devices. No changes were made to the tags to get them to work with FlexNet.

Berzins says the companies haven't deployed any systems yet that use AeroScout tags, saying only that a number of opportunities have already cropped up. "We're making this announcement to let customers know," he says. Apriso already has a number of high profile customers including Microsoft, Honeywell, General Motors, Halliburton, Lear, and Lockheed Martin.

The last big AeroScout deployment announced was use of the tags for tracking children at the Legoland theme park in Denmark.

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