Ruckus Wireless unveiled the Ruckus Smart Positioning Technology (SPoT) service this week (11 February 2104), which it says provides much more accurate indoor positioning information using Wi-Fi access points.
The company claims Ruckus SPoT is the industry’s first Cloud-based smart positioning location-based service (LBS) that gives carriers/service providers and enterprises the ability to deliver a wide-range of value added services over Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks to help increase their profitability while enhancing their users’ online experience.
By 2017, ABI Research estimates that the indoor locations services market will eclipse $2.5 billion.
Unlike other industry solutions offered to date, Ruckus SPoT combines unique advantages, such as being completely Cloud-based, and offering improved accuracy and performance more cost-effectively.
While other location analytics technologies are proprietary and limited to users that have an on-premises location appliance, Ruckus SPoT is completely Cloud-based and offers APIs for third party developers.
Venues with Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi installed do not need any additional hardware to be “Location Intelligent” and can immediately take advantage of third party analytics and mobile application offerings if preferred.
Embedded with a patented indoor positioning algorithm gained from the company’s recent acquisition of YFind Technologies, new and existing Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi access points are now capable of powerful and accurate client positioning for indoor or dense urban environments, where GPS doesn’t always work.
By knowing where clients are located, companies are able to help them get wherever they need to go, making the network experience better for them, or use data from their location to optimize their experience.
In addition, network operators can deliver location-relevant content to users based on their proximity to points of interest, including timely retail offers—even security and safety notices.
With the skyrocketing popularity of Wi-Fi driven by a new age of Wi-Fi-enabled smart devices, new requirements have emerged for an indoor GPS-like positioning service that uses Wi-Fi to enable value-added services.
Though today’s cellular technologies support outdoor location services, they don’t always work well or sometimes even at all indoors, due to the inability of cellular signals to extend into buildings well. Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi coupled with advanced LBS technology is an ideal solution to this problem.
The Ruckus SPoT smart positioning solution includes the following components:
- SPoT Positioning Engine - pinpoints in real time a user’s location in any indoor environment;
- SPoT Location Analytics Dashboard - delivers a rich set of client location information, and;
- SPoT Engagement Tools - including an SDK and a set of APIs to power a new generation of mobile apps. These tools empower developers to build “Location Intelligent” features into a new generation of mobile applications.
“Our innovations in location-based client positioning are driving new opportunities for operators and enterprises to easily leverage their Ruckus Wi-Fi infrastructure to support intelligent positioning services indoors, where people use Wi-Fi most,” said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless.
“Our unique Cloud-based service approach gives customers a simple and powerful way to add immense value to their Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks, and the ability to easily enable new services. Cloud-based service enablement also allows for instant service provisioning without significant CAPEX contribution.”
Ruckus SPoT is based on the technology recently acquired from location based services pioneer YFind Technologies. It gives service providers and enterprises the ability to leverage Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi access points with the latest location technology and techniques that can automatically pinpoint and track the physical location of Wi-Fi- enabled devices, without having to deploy a substantially higher density of additional Wi-Fi hardware or any client software.
“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, Network Infrastructure, International Data Corporation (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 monetised," said Mehra.
Pricing and availability
The Ruckus SPoT system will be available worldwide in the second quarter of 2014. Ruckus SPoT is a subscription-based service that can be purchased on either a one, three or five year basis for $25 (USD) per Ruckus access point per month.
Ruckus SPoT includes an analytics dashboard, along with a web-based tool that allows for uploading floor plans and defining zones for a particular venue.
Ruckus SPoT also includes a calibrator mobile application that allows network operators to quickly and easily perform RF fingerprint calibration of any given environment.
Available with the upcoming Ruckus ZoneFlex 9.8 version of system software, the Ruckus SPoT service requires no new hardware and can be used with indoor and outdoor Ruckus 802.11n access points, such as the Ruckus ZoneFlex 7982, ZoneFlex 7782, ZoneFlex 7372 and ZoneFlex 7055 models, as well as future Ruckus ZoneFlex indoor and outdoor access points.
SPoT Ecosystem Partner Programme
With SPoT, Ruckus is also introducing the Ruckus SPoT location ecosystem, a dedicated partner program for third party application developers. Within the SPoT location ecosystem, partners are provided with an open API and SDK to easily develop customized Location Analytics and mobile apps that leverage Ruckus SPoT technology to deliver differentiated services for a range of vertical market use cases.
SPoT Trends & Analysis
Unlike conventional approaches to Wi-Fi based location services, SPoT exploits Ruckus-patented BeamFlex adaptive antenna array technology that brings a unique opportunity to correlate antenna metrics to determine client location and further improve accuracy.
Ruckus BeamFlex technology is combined with a variety of advanced location techniques such as RSSI trilateration, RTT (round trip time), and RF fingerprinting and techniques that take advantage of the constant travelling speed of radio waves and packets. Ruckus SPoT is capable of better pinpointing client location, depending on the number and density of access points used.
A real-time heat map allows companies to analyze where their customers are aggregating within a space, with the ability to define zones and compare traffic data between different zones. All this data is customizable for time intervals, allowing historical analysis and tracking of trends.