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RFID News Roundup

Thinfilm announces new U.S. high-volume fabrication facility ••• Custom BioGenic Systems intros VersAlert wireless temperature-monitoring system ••• Virtual beacon company Mist closes on $28 million funding round ••• GAO RFID unveils enhanced hands-free advanced parking solution ••• NFC Forum announces new technical specifications ••• AIM publishes standard for evaluating RFID's effects on medical devices.
By Beth Bacheldor

Virtual Beacon Company Mist Closes on $28 Million in Funding

Startup Mist, a provider of virtual Bluetooth beacons, has announced the close of an over-subscribed $28 million Series B financing, bringing the total investment in the company to approximately $43 million. The round was led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), with additional funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Cisco Investments. With the latest round of financing, Karim Faris, a general partner at GV, has joined Mist's board of directors.

Mist reports that it plans to use the additional investment to grow its sales and marketing resources. It also intends to continue investing heavily in engineering and product development, develop a robust channel of managed service providers (MSPs), and collaborate with leading ecosystem and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners.

The Mist platform is designed to let customers think centrally and act locally through a combination of cloud-based intelligence and on-premises enterprise-grade Access Points, according to the company. It has developed a solution that creates so-called virtual Bluetooth Low Energy (vBLE) beacons, by using software algorithms and steerable antennas to identify the location of a user's BLE-enabled mobile phone (see Mist's Virtual Bluetooth Beacons Get a Try-out). The system features what Mist calls a Dynamic BLE Array, incorporated into a device that functions as multiple BLE beacons. The device, which the company refers to as a BLE access point, can typically cover a 2,500-square-foot area—which, the firm has indicated, equates to the same amount of coverage provided by eight physical beacons within the same area.

New features recently added to the Mist platform include expanded Service Level Experience (SLE) metrics and the ability to set SLE thresholds for critical attributes that impact wireless performance, which now include throughput, latency and jitter parameters, in addition to connection, coverage, capacity and roaming. It also features one-click root-cause analysis that uses machine learning to convert data into meaningful and actionable insight. For example, IT administrators can easily determine which wired, wireless and device issues are affecting which users, thereby enabling quick problem identification and remediation.

The platform offers administrators a real-time view of the RF environment from the mobile device's perspective, and provides deep analytics on both Wi-Fi and BLE using a single converged platform. What's more, the new Mist BT11 is an enterprise-grade access point for BLE that comes with a 16-antenna element steerable directional antenna and a single omni-directional element array to provide high location accuracy. In addition, the company reports, the BT11 has a dedicated radio for collecting data and sharing it with the Mist cloud, for the purpose of detailed location analytics and high accuracy indoor location services—with accuracy of 1 meter (3.3 feet) or better and sub-second latency.

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