Text to the Tracking Tag

Text to the Tracking Tag

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Written By Eric Sandler

By Eric Griffith

February 22, 2007

Saratoga, California-based Ekahau’s newest generation of Wi-Fi tracking tags does more than find things. It’ll find you. And it’ll send you a message.

The third-generation T301-B is the first from the many Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) companies that make Wi-Fi tags (Aeroscout and Pango Networks are some others) to build in a small display screen to receive text messages.

“The form factor is easy for putting into a pocket or wearing as a pendant,” says Arttu Huhtiniemi, Ekahau’s director of product management. “The display lets an application send a text message to the user of the tag, all on the same channel we use to locate them via Wi-Fi.”

This isn’t person-to-person or tag-to-tag messaging, but would originate from the network. The tag wearer can acknowledge receipt of a message by pushing one of the two programmable buttons on the tag. Battery life is estimated at five years. It works with 802.11b/g networks.

The T301-B isn’t a replacement for the current Ekahau asset tracking tag, the T201. Huhtiniemi says he considers it a supplement, “just one of the tags we’ll bring to the market.”

The T301 will also be available without a display at a lower price. But Ekahau thinks the display will be a big selling point, allowing the tag to be used as an on-site pager (it even has a buzzer). “The messaging will change the way we enable applications,” says Huhtiniemi.

Pricing on the T301 has not been set yet. It won’t go into mass production until the second half of 2007.

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