Ekahau Adds Location Applications

By Ed Sutherland

December 02, 2004

Beyond just offering positioning and asset tracking technology, the company now offers end-user programs to take advantage of the tech.

In a switch of tactics, Wi-Fi location and asset tracking company Ekahau has created a suite of ready-made applications designed to quickly and cost-effectively get its popular positioning engine to small and large enterprises.

The Ekahau Real Time Location System (RTLS) is a suite of applications using the company's Ekahau Positioning Engine. The three applications – the Ekahau Finder, Ekahau Tracker and Ekahau Logger – for the first time are aimed at the end-user.

The applications will allow customers to track personnel and assets over a Wi-Fi network.

"Adding the application layer on top of the Positioning Engine platform will help us to speed up the technology adaptation in several customer segments," said Arttu Huhtiniemi, Ekahau's director of product development.

Huhtiniemi said the application suite will mean the Helsinki-based Ekahau can offer "a turn-key solution directly to the end-customer" rather than relying on third-party developers creating custom software.

"Any deployment will be faster and more cost effective," according to the Ekahau executive.

"Deploying one or more applications from the Application Suite means a significantly lower deployment time and cost compared to custom application development," according to the company.

Ekahau Finder will be the first application released on January 2005. The tool provides users the location of devices from a Web browser or PDA. Following Ekahau Finder will be Ekahau Tracker giving customers a real-time snapshot of device locations. Ekahau Logger lists the historical location of people and assets, along with analyzing traffic flow.

The Ekahau RTLS provides "the precise real-time location of Wi-Fi based mobile devices, such as wireless laptops, PDAs and Wi-Fi tags can be pinpointed within the Wi-Fi coverage area," according to a statement.

The application suite arose from the company asking itself "how we could operate Ekahau as stand-alone," says Tuomo Rutanen, vice president of business development. Rutanen says Ekahau realized there were many companies out there with smaller requirements.

As Ekahau looked at the needs of smaller companies, the Wi-Fi location vendor was looking at ways it could become part of existing applications at bigger enterprises. The key was integration, says Rutanen.

Earlier this month, WLAN security company AirDefense announced it would integrate Ekahau's positioning engine into AirDefense Enterprise. The move enables AirDefense customers to locate in real time rogue Wi-Fi devices. Ekahau took RF performance information to create a map of RF coverage.

Ekahau acknowledged the step permits them entry into an as-yet unexplored market. "Customers with security concerns will be able to take advantage of our location tracking technology," said Rutanen.

Over Thanksgiving, Ekahau said it would work with Oracle Japan. Ekahau's positioning engine will be used in Oracle's Location Based Services Framework.

Continuing its integration with the enterprise, Ekahau last year announced its Wi-Fi location technology would be integrated into IBM's WebSphere Anywhere Access. The move provides location-tracking features to IBM's wireless partners.

The Ekanau Real Time Location System starts at $5,000.

Originally published on .

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