Wi-Fi location tags go anywhere with you

Wi-Fi location tags go anywhere with you


Want Wi-Fi that goes anywhere? You might want to look into Ekahau.

This company, which has its roots in Finland and is just six years old, makes Wi-Fi radio tags that are compatible across the 802.11 standard and that also function as location tracking devices. Such tags can be attached to mobile devices like laptops, PDAs, and phones and can also be carried independently by people who have none of the above mobile devices, yet still need or want to be tracked.

Specifically, the company is marketing the T201 location tag, which, according to Vice President for Business Development Tuomo Rutanen, can also operate as an anti-theft device.

“The tag employs a motion sensor,” Rutanen said. “When the tag is not moving, it is in deep sleep mode. We store the last location before it went to sleep. When the tag moves, the motion sensor triggers the tag into full operation, at which time the server begins tracking it again.”

You probably know whether you have your tag-enabled device or not; if it is lost or stolen, you can track it down rather easily (provided that the tag remains intact).

The uniqueness of the tag, however, according to Rutanen, is that it doesn’t require any extra hardware to make it portable and make it work. “We are infrastructure agnostic,” Rutanen said, “meaning that our system works with any Wi-Fi network. Because of the software approach, our system can be applied to virtually any type of tracking scenario, from a hospital wing to a metro area Wi-Fi network, without breaking the bank.”

Rutanen and others at Ekahau envision being able to track down missing electronic devices, health care resources, and even children. Imagine giving your child a small device to store in his or her backpack on the way to school; should anything happen to the child, you can track his or her location using the T201 tag. Another use might be to notify health care personnel of an emergency involving a patient. Rutanen insists that locations can be fixed within a matter of seconds.