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WiFi RealTime Location Tracking Systems Essay

Wrireless networks has affected large and small companies alike. While Radia Frequency Identification (RFID) tags based networks have gained popularity over the years, there are also other wireless networks available that are being tested in order to provide same functionality and more. Wi-Fi and blue tooth are two of the examples of such networks. This short paper discusses the use of Wifi. Wi-Fi Networks WiFi generally comes under the umberalla of RFID. WiFi ID is actually an active RFID system that uses the air communication standard 802. 11.

There are also other active RFID systems that use standards other than 802. 11 and operate on different frequencies. One of the important aspect of this scenerio is to understand thje difference between the RFID tags and Wifi tags. RFID Tags vs. WiFi Tags In order to use passive RFID tags, you need to have reader after every few feets to read the tag. For active RFID tags a radio sensor needs to be deployed that uses different technologies to sense the tags in order to determine the location of the tag. Antennas are also required. This means that you need to built an infrastructure to deploy both types of systems.

Like Best Buy is doing. When you are using a WiFi based system that are aslo called Real Time Location Systems (RTLS), you only need to set up the WifFi network in the company and can use any underlying technology in order to make it work. RFID tags can also be used here, but adavnatge is that you dont need to set up the RFID network infratsurcture that you needed to incorporate before. In RFID tags, for short range identfication, High frequency tag is used and for short range identification, active UHF tags are used that operate on 900 MHz or 433 MHz.

Both these type, as discussed require a complete insfrastructure to be built. However, WiFi operates on 2. 4 GHz. These 2. 4 GHz can be used in the network. For a company like BestBuy, choosing WiFi has an extra advantage that it will already have 802. 11 network infrastructures in place and this will save money for the company. The only things they need to buy are the WiFi tags. Applications The WiFi network infrastructure can provide many application to the companies like BestBuy and some of them include location-based network access, intelligent information management and wireless asset tracking.

The WiFi tags can exactly point out the location of the tag. This can also mean that customer walking into the store can have the contents on his PDA according to the position where he is standing. Statistical reports can be generated n the basis of information of how much time a customer spends at a particular location and what consequences this can have using data mining techniques. Once the tagging has helped a customer locate items and a shopping list has been completed, the system can store this list for future reference to the particular customer.

The underlying software can prepare a probable list of items for that particular customer. Another important application of WiFi tags can be theft prevention. For example, if a certain item is to be protected, the system will attach a flag to it whenever it is taken from the shelf and added to a cart. The system can then track the item until it reaches the check out line. If the item does not reach the check out line and leaves the store, it will be an indication of a theft and action can be taken against the customer. Therefore, the WiFi network can be employed for security of valuable assets as well.

Therefore, WiFi tags can be used beyond item tracking systems such as inventory control systems to easily manage large inventory. References ABI Research. (2006, October 23). Active RFID and Wi-Fi in the RTLS Market: Asset Management for Automotive, Defense, Healthcare, and Transportation Vertical Markets. Retrieved March 13, 2008 from http://www. abiresearch. com/products/ market_research/Active_RFID_and_Wi-Fi_in_the_RTLS_Market Garfinkel,S. Rosenberg, B. (2005) RFID: Applications, Security, and Privacy, Addison Wesley Professional. Kowalke,M.

(2006, October 23). RFID vs. WiFi for Hospital Inventory Tracking Systems. Retrieved March 13, 2008 from http://blog. tmcnet. com/ wireless-mobility/rfid-vs-wifi-for-hospital-inventory-tracking-systems. asp RFID Radio. (2007, July 17). Episode 005 – Making Business Sense of Real Time Location Systems (RTLS). Retrieved March 13, 2008 from http://www. rfidradio. com/? p=12 Sullivan, L. (2005, October 17). InformationWeek. BEST BUY’S SPIN ON RFID. Retrieved March 13, 2008 from http://www. informationweek. com/ story/showArticle. jhtml? articleID=172300921

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