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Ruckus gives Wi-Fi-based LBS a Spot

Ruckus Wireless Inc. has introduced a cloud-based positioning service that is aimed at enabling new, location-based services over Ruckus Wi-Fi networks.

Ruckus says that its Smart Positioning Technology, or SPoT, is unique both in being completely cloud-based and in offering APIs for third-party developers, rather than taking the proprietary approach to location analytics that has so far dominated the market. The company added that locations which already have its Smart Wi-Fi installed don’t need any new hardware in order to use the LBS technology because new and existing Smart Wi-Fi access points already support the SPoT solution. They can even use third-party analytics if they prefer.

The new solution relies on technology gained from Ruckus’ acquisition of YFind Technologies in mid-2013. The company said at the time of the acquisition of privately-held YFind that it intended to “enable new location-based services by combining its unique, Smart Wi-Fi technology with YFind’s range of location based services and analytical capabilities, transforming Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks into location-intelligent infrastructures. These solutions will address new emerging opportunities among enterprises and service providers to offer value-added services to their customers.”

GPS doesn’t always work in indoor and congested urban environments, Ruckus noted.

In an ABI Research report on indoor location technologies released this week, the firm said that more than 800 million smartphones are expected to be using indoor location technology by 2018. ABI further  noted that more than 10 indoor location technologies are competing for advantage in the market, and that “infrastructure-free” technologies with better accuracy are “forecast to change the face of and use case for indoor location in the future.”

“We see huge growth for infrastructure-based technologies like Wi-Fi and iBeacons, with BLE deployments forecast to break 20,000 by 2015, largely focused on retail,” said Patrick Connolly, senior analyst at ABI. ” But the arrival of high-accuracy handset-based technologies like sensor fusion, LED, magnetic field and a host of others, will also enable a whole new set of consumer applications and services around ambient intelligence, social networking, corporate/enterprise, fitness/health, mobile advertising, and gaming. With over 800 million smartphones actively using indoor location for applications by 2018, it will be as standard as GPS is today.”

Ruckus ‘ new solution includes a positioning engine for pinpointing a user’s location in real-time; a dashboard for location analytics; and engagement tools aimed at developers to “power a new generation of mobile apps,” the company said. In addition to the SPoT solution, Ruckus us also forming a dedicated partner program for third-party app developers. Initial ecosystem partners include location analytics companies Euclid and Skyrove, and app development companies such as Front Porch, ITC Infotech, Purple Wi-Fi, SangInfo and TechStudio.

Ruckus noted that SPoT takes advantage of its adaptive antenna array technology in order to correlate antenna metrics and provide more accurate user location information.

“We see location-based services to be one of the key drivers for wireless LAN market growth starting in 2014,” said Rohit Mehra, vice president of network infrastructure at IDC. “As with other cloud applications, cloud-based location services can offer scalable, elastic compute resources for enterprises and service providers to collect, monitor, and provide real time analytics that are essential to providing rapid insight on user location and behavior, enabling improved user satisfaction or other business services that can be monetized.”

SPoT will be available in the second quarter as a subscription-based service that can be purchased for $25 per Ruckus AP per month, on a one, three or five-year basis. It will be available with the upcoming Ruckus ZoneFlex 9.8 version of the company’s system software and can be used with the company’s indoor and outdoor 802.11n APs as well as several of its ZoneFlex models.



Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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