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New Wi-Fi-based tags from Ekahau and PanGo offer smaller form factors and extended battery life. PanGo is also releasing a new version of its core software platform for wireless location services. And WLAN vendor Trapeze Vendor has rolled out a location appliance, based on the hardware and software from Newbury Networks.
The location-services market covers a wide range of wireless technologies for indoor and outdoor tracking and identification. The Yankee Group estimated the 2005 global market to be about $20 million, but to reach $1.6 billion by 2010. Two groups of vendors are in this market, both of them small, according to the Yankee study. One group includes WhereNet, Radianse and RF Code. Typically, these companies use unlicensed, but lower frequency, spectrum. A newer group, including AeroScout, Ekahau and PanGo, have developed location tracking products specifically based on IEEE 802.11 radios.
Ekahau dubs its newest radio tracking device a “people tag,” because it's essentially a radio-equipped ID badge, due out late this year. The T301-B tag is about the size of ¼-inch-thick credit card. Its built-in 802.11b radio, based on silicon from G2 Microsystems, lets Ekahau’s software pinpoint the badge-wearers location, or lets the badge-wearer press one or two buttons, all sealed under plastic, to send an alert or a confirmation.