Siemens set to track assets and people over Wi-Fi networks using Ekahau RTLS
Siemens Communications remains on the lookout for ways to get more out of the network. Its latest endeavor involves a partnership with Ekahau to offer wireless real-time location system (RTLS) capabilities as another integrated service for Siemens’ global customers.
| Hymer AG
is the first customer to deploy the integrated Siemens-Ekahau real-time locating solution to track motor homes as they move through the facility.
The plan is to deploy the Ekahau Site Survey (ESS) tool; Wi-Fi RFID tags; and the Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE) in conjunction with the Siemens HiPath Wireless Manager HiGuard Wi-Fi network infrastructure, which will allow network designers to reduce the number of site surveys required for multiple applications. That in turn should lower the total cost and time to deploy wireless communication networks in a variety of facilities—from plants to distribution centers to hospitals.
“Site surveys are conducted when you deploy Wi-Fi, and also when you deploy Ekahau RTLS to identify where to place the access points. We’re combining them into a single step using the Ekahau Site Survey tool,” says Tuomo Rutanen, VP of business development for Ekahau. “Siemens Communications builds the Wi-Fi network and communications infrastructure, and can now offer additional value by delivering RTLS on top of it to get more utility out of the network.”
RTLS is powered by wireless RFID tags attached to assets to be tracked. The tags scan for the signal strength of various network access points. “The signal strength reading is transmitted to the Ekahau server, which calculates the location based on the reading,” says Rutanen. “Then you’re delivering that information to the end user on the network.”
According to Luc Roy, VP of planning for Siemens Communications, “The big value is the integration, and the benefit is you don’t need a lot of different types of products. To do asset location tracking with the infrastructure, you need tight integration. We’ll use [Ekahau’s] tracking tools and positioning engine to provide the real-time location tracking.”
Hymer AG , a German manufacturer of motor homes, is the first customer to deploy the integrated Siemens-Ekahau solution to track units moving through a facility. At certain stages, Hymer moves vehicles off the line and parks them in holding areas. “By integrating location services with our Siemens HiPath Wireless LAN, we can optimize our assembly-line process sequence and access the necessary vehicle more quickly,” says Michael Tregner, managing director of Hymer.
Siemens Communications builds the Wi-Fi network and communications infrastructure, and it can now offer additional value by delivering RTLS on top of it.”
—Tuomo Rutanen, VP of business development, Ekahau
“Siemens has presence in many verticals,” says Marcus Torchia, senior analyst with Boston-based Yankee Group . “The partnership gives them another product to add value to their customers’ Wi-Fi networks. And it’s a great distribution channel for Ekahau.”