Ekahau – 2 major updates in the space of a month

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Content Copyright © 2008 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

Some of you may remember last November that I wrote an article on Ekahau, one of the leading vendors in the RTLS market. Well Ekahau have made 2 major announcements during February and March 2008.

For those of you hearing about Ekahau for the first time here is a little reminder about them. Ekahau were founded in 2000 and were spun out of Complex Systems Computation Group at the University of Helsinki. They focused on the provision of positioning solutions for locating people, assets, inventory and other objects using wireless enterprise networks. Ekahau are headquartered in Saratoga, California, with Helsinki as their development centre. The company is privately owned by its employees, founders, and venture capital and industrial investors.

In February 2008 Ekahau announced the release of Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE) 4.2. This is the foundation for Ekahau RTLS. The new features in EPE include:

  • Event Management – System integrators can now use Ekahau Event application programming interface (API), which introduces an event-driven programming model and a rules engine to increase application performance and make integration easier by using location event filtering in the engine.
  • 64bit architecture – Compatibility with 64-bit processor architecture for Windows 2003 increases the performance to support concurrent tracking of 40,000 items, compared to only 10,000 items in the previous version. EPE 4.2 also supports multi-campus location models in which items must be tracked over millions of square feet.
  • Inclusion of Site Survey in price – Ekahau Site Survey 4.0 standard edition is now included in the price.

Several Ekahau customers already have deployed EPE 4.2. Helsinki District Hospital in Finland is extending its existing Ekahau system to include tracking of elderly patients within their campus. Ekahau T301A and T301B Wi-Fi tags are being used to ensure patient safety and to notify security and staff if a patient wanders through an exit door or enters a restricted area.

This month, March 2008, Ekahau has introduced Ekahau Vision, a web-based visual interface that enables enterprise users of Ekahau RTLS to monitor the location of tagged assets and people in real-time. Ekahau Vision is a Rich Internet Application (RIA), which results in a user friendly and consumer-like intuitive interface. Antti Korhonen, president and CEO of Ekahau, stated that, “The launch of the Ekahau Vision significantly strengthens our application offering. While Ekahau RTLS’s superior positioning accuracy is an important enabling factor for several different location tracking use cases, the Vision application software is what finally turns the ‘x’ and ‘y’ location coordinates into a meaningful enterprise benefits and return on investment. The new Ekahau Vision follows the current trend of consumerization of enterprise IT applications and delivers an easy-to-use interface. No other tool in the industry offers the ability to monitor, query and collect asset data in such an easy and visual way.”

When used in conjunction with the Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE), Ekahau Vision enables enterprises to identify, from any Internet-enabled device, the real-time and historical location of objects and individuals with building-, floor- and room-level accuracy. On its graphical map-based interface, Ekahau Vision delivers real-time information, including the location of assets, timestamps of the last known location, location history and event management. It also supports configuration of the home page to display a variety of customised views, such as asset and staff location in a dashboard format. Ekahau Vision incorporates zone functionality within the software, enabling system users to create virtual chokepoints anywhere in a building or on a campus.

These announcements by Ekahau show that competition is rife in the RTLS market with vendors leapfrogging each other. Ekahau have been at the forefront of RTLS development and are leading the way again with these 2 announcements.