Cisco steps up location-based services

Networking giant has improved RFID-tracking technology and launched metrics for companies to define how 'mobile' they are

Cisco has bundled Wi-Fi chokepoint and telemetry services into its latest asset-tracking package, in what it claims is a first for the industry.

Cisco Location Solution, which is available immediately, capitalises on chokepoints — bottlenecks such as doorways or hallways — to improve how moving assets are tracked by sending out a notification whenever an RFID-tagged object or asset passes through a certain point. The system can also monitor tags that feed back reports on conditions surrounding the asset, such as humidity or temperature.

"If you combine the RFID tags and the chokepoint technology you have much more visibility of all these assets," said Richard Roberts, director of wireless business development at Cisco, on Tuesday. He added that Location Solution's telemetric capabilities would be particularly useful in locations where environmental concerns were crucial, such as on an oil rig. Location Solution incorporates the Cisco Unified Wireless Network, as well as integrated partner applications and RFID tags.

Roberts also described a separate project for assessing how developed a company's mobility strategy is. Cisco uses three criteria to work out a company's "mobility quotient". The criteria are insight (how accurately employees can make decisions); collaboration (how well individuals communicate); and awareness (how well a business tracks its assets and staff).

Cisco says that mobility quotient interviews with more than 1,000 managers and directors around the world have already indicated that more than 60 percent of businesses do not have a sufficient long-term mobile IT strategy in place. "The findings of the Cisco Mobility Quotient point to both the enormous opportunity and challenge that businesses face with mobility," said Lynn Lucas, director of mobility solutions at Cisco. "By understanding the market's current state of mobile readiness, Cisco is in a unique position to help businesses take advantage of mobility for competitive advantage."