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Navizon's Cloud-based RTLS Service Tracks Wi-Fi Tags, Devices

The company's I.T.S. solution is designed to help users monitor the locations of people and assets indoors, via nodes that read Wi-Fi transmissions from smartphones, laptops and RFID tags.
By Claire Swedberg
May 16, 2012Navizon, a real-time location system (RTLS) technology provider based in Miami, Fla., has begun marketing a service to track the locations of Wi-Fi-based active RFID tags, or any other Wi-Fi-enabled devices within a facility, ranging from a warehouse to a convention hall, apartment building or mall. The service, known as the Navizon Indoor Triangulation System (I.T.S.), is currently being tested by several businesses, including a casino and a mall.

Navizon initially opened shop to provide a global positioning system (GPS) known as Navizon One, which provides cell-phone users with access to such features as a buddy finder and Google Maps, by calculating a mobile phone's location via GPS, and then providing location-based data to that phone's user.

Navizon's Cyril Houri
Last year, the company developed I.T.S. as an extension to Navizon One. I.T.S. employs Wi-Fi reader nodes to determine the locations of Wi-Fi-enabled RFID tags, smartphones, laptops, tablets or other devices that transmit a unique identifier via a Wi-Fi signal.

For a monthly fee of typically less than $1,000, a user can set up a building with nodes and access the service, says Cyril Houri, Navizon's CEO, for applications that could include access control within a commercial building, security systems for tracking assets, or the movements of individuals such as maintenance workers or members of the public.

A company first purchases reader nodes (using an order form available at the Navizon Web site), and installs them approximately 100 feet apart, plugged into wall outlets. One node must be plugged into an Internet connection and serves as the gateway, while others form a mesh network that forward their transmission data back to the Internet via that gateway. The user can log onto the Access Navizon I.T.S. Web site and upload a floor plan of its facility. The nodes receive unique identifiers transmitted from each RFID tag or other Wi-Fi device within their read range, and forward that data via the gateway to a cloud-based server hosted by Navizon. When the I.T.S. customer logs onto Navizon's Web site, Houri says, a map of the facility appears, containing icons indicating each wireless device's location.

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