Sep 24, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.
September 24, 2008—Motorola's Enterprise Wireless LAN Division announced it has integrated real-time location system (RTLS) functionality into its wireless switches. The RTLS-enabled switches, combined with new location engine software Motorola developed, allow customers to use their 802.11-standard wireless LAN infrastructure to get location information on active WiFi RTLS tags, mobile computers and other WiFi devices, and passive RFID-tagged items on the network.
The system is part of Motorola's Wireless Next Generation (Wi-NG, pronounced "wing") platform. It supports 802.11 a, b, g and n wireless LAN interoperability standards and the EPCglobal Application Level Events (ALE) and Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) standards for integration with EPC-standard passive UHF RFID technology.
"The unique thing we're able to bring is locationing ability right on the switch," Manish Rai, director of product marketing for Motorola's Enterprise Wireless LAN Division, told RFID Update. "Locationing applications are taking off. Building the location engineer right on the switch removes some of the barriers to enterprise adoption."
Customers can use Motorola's new location engine software to create RTLS applications. Motorola also announced three other RTLS solution providers support the new products: AeroScout, Ekahau and Newbury Networks.
Motorola's RTLS-enabled wireless switches and location engine software will be available through the company's regular distribution channels, Rai said. Sameer Kanagala, the company's product line manager, said some Motorola partners are already developing RTLS solutions for specific vertical markets.
"We find location applications are becoming feasible for a number of verticals. Retailers want to track their mobile devices and do some theft prevention and asset tracking. In manufacturing, there's more of an employee safety focus, so they can locate their personnel in an emergency. In healthcare, it's about improving asset utilization, and some may also want to integrate passive UHF tags for patient tracking," Rai said.
A recent market research report predicted RTLS sales would reach $145 million this year and would grow to more than a $1 billion in annual sales within 10 years (see Innovation to Drive Strong RTLS Adoption).
Motorola joins Cisco Systems as wireless LAN infrastructure providers who announced increased RTLS support and capabilities this year (see New System Marries RFID Location Data With Item Info). AeroScout, which has partnered with both Cisco and Motorola, opened its RTLS platform, originally developed for active WiFi tags, to support additional technologies (see New RTLS Solution Combines WiFi, UWB, and RFID).