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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
For Navizon customers looking to track assets or individuals via RFID tags, the company recommends active RFID tags provided by Redpine Signals, though other makes and models of Wi-Fi tags would work as well, Houri says. The solution, he adds, is intended to provide an affordable alternative to active Wi-Fi-based tracking systems currently offered by RTLS companies for hospitals or other use cases. Navizon hopes to reach a broader market with its less-expensive solution.

Smartphones, laptops and other Wi-Fi devices must be powered on in order to be detected by the nodes, but the devices themselves do not require that an application be loaded onto them before they can be tracked. Once a transmission is received from a phone, laptop or tag, the node sends that data to the cloud-based server via the gateway.

Upon first installing the system, an operator logs onto the server, sets up a password and user ID, identifies each node's ID number and enters its physical location. The user can also upload a floor plan, enabling the use of icons on that plan indicating where Wi-Fi transmissions have been detected. He or she can then access real-time information by logging onto the server at any time, or collect data for analytics, such as determining the amount of foot traffic within particular areas of the building, as well as when this occurred. In addition, the system can be set up to issue alarms in the event that a tag or mobile device enters an area deemed off-limits.

Each personal device's identifier is not automatically linked to the individual using that item, but operators can also link specific individuals' IDs to their smartphones and other personal Wi-Fi-enabled devices, with their permission, so that they can be individually tracked. For example, security guards, maintenance workers, doctors or patients could be monitored while moving around a facility, in order to identify their locations and thus enable building managers or other users to make decisions or detect problems based on those movements. If an individual not authorized to enter a specific area were to do so, for instance, an alert could be triggered.

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