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Cisco, Sewio Team Up Regarding Ultra-Wideband Access Points

Announcements made at Sewio's second annual summit in the Czech Republic included descriptions of UWB installations at Toyota and other manufacturing sites, as well as Decawave's new membership with UWB-based groups.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 18, 2019

Real-time location system (RTLS) technology company Sewio is partnering with global networking technology company Cisco Systems in the Czech Republic to build its ultra-wideband (UWB) receiver module into Cisco access points, thereby enabling precise localization of tagged items or individuals in industrial, automotive and other spaces, without the need for an additional RTLS anchor installation. The two companies announced the plan at Sewio Summit, Sewio's second annual summit for UWB industry members, which was held in the Czech statutory city of České Budějovice.

In addition to Cisco's plans, the summit served as a platform for several UWB-based announcements. SICK, a sensor intelligence company, indicated that it is partnering with Sewio to build its RTLS technology into SICK's asset-analytics platform for location solutions. Several solution providers described their RTLS deployments for different local Toyota manufacturing sites, and UWB chip company Decawave indicated that it is joining the Car Connectivity Consortium as the technology expands across multiple vertical markets, including into the automotive sector. That membership, the company says, will help it expand its own products into numerous markets, while it hopes also to support the expected growth in UWB for automotive entry, consumer goods and industrial deployments.

During the summit, a series of speakers representing RTLS solution provider companies described their deployments using UWB technology to provide their customers with a variety of applications, including the management of work-in-progress (WIP) at manufacturing sites. When it comes to the Cisco announcement, the wireless access technology company says it expects to deploy its new UWB-enabled access points at several sites throughout the Czech Republic, says Zuzana Svecova, Cisco's Czech and Slovak specialist team lead.

Cisco's Zuzana Svecova
"We are now profiling suitable custoemrs for the pilot," Svecova says. "We have two on a short list and testing should start during October." The Cisco node pilots may be provided by joint Cisco-Sewio partner Alef, according to Hana Balášová, Alef's business-development manager. Alef, a subsidiary of Cisco, provides training, implements its solutions, and works with automotive and other industrial companies.

The new access points are part of a continued drive by Cisco to sell more than Wi-Fi connectivity, the company reports. Cisco has been moving further into Internet of Things (IoT) services by partnering with scores of companies to expand its offerings into the industrial and other markets. These include Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Zigbee, for instance. The new devices will consist of Cisco's AP 3802, with Sewio's UWAPO module containing an integrated Decawave DW1000 chip. Additionally, Sewio's technology may be retrofitted into existing AP 3802 nodes through Cisco's Aironet Development Program.

Cisco reports that it is now offering vertical solutions centered around four markets: industrial automation, workforce enablement, security and plant efficiency. The company is building digital manufacturing solutions that include apps, software and wireless connected factories, says Michal Stachnik, Cisco Systems's general manager in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. As part of this effort, he explains, "We partnered with Sewio with a goal of bringing precise location services to our Wi-Fi clients." Industrial companies, as well as other firms with a need for real-time location, could use Cisco Wi-Fi access points to track UWB tags worn by employees or applied to assets or equipment, in real time.

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