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Ruckus folds Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) into its hubs as a corporate IoT play

ruckus wifi thing

Ruckus ZoneFlex 7781

  • Brocade/Ruckus partners with TrackR to exploit Bluetooth for IoT
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to be tech to be onboarded Ruckus access points
  • Will enable IoT asset tracking applications for corporates

Yet another important access technology for the broad IoT market looks likely to be Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) if the likes of Ruckus Wireless, now part of Brocade, has anything to do with it.

Ruckus yesterday announced a joint solution with TrackR, a specialist in “personal item management”, which will see Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology included in Ruckus ZoneFlex  access points.

The idea is to “enhance the indoor and outdoor location services of TrackR’s Crowd GPS network” by putting the BLE capability into the Ruckus WiFi hubs so making an IoT capability available at marginal extra cost - the access points and network infrastructure already being available and easily able to accommodate very low bandwidth applications without requiring any sort of upgrade.

The most obvious applications at present are around corporate “asset movement”. The BLE capability means ‘assets’ - particularly valuable ones, can be fitted with low-cost tags and sensors and therefore be detected and tracked as they pass by corporate WiFi access points. Obviously there’s a big security aspect here, but this sort of capability is also useful for tracking assets that are ‘supposed’ to move around a facility. Their location can a ascertained in ‘real time’ - especially useful for asset-tracking in education, hospitality and large public venues.

To make this all real as an application, Ruckus also provides TrackR (the partner) with the necessary software to acquire, contextualize and act on the sensor data being collected.

“As a result,” claims Ruckus, “TrackR can monitor devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones as well as higher value in-building infrastructure assets like TVs, projectors and other equipment. The installation of this solution enhances security and asset protection by triggering an alarm when devices cross defined geo-fences. This enables an in-building or campus-wide asset tracking solution that leverages the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, reducing cost and complexity.”

TrackR’s roots are on the consumer side of the IoT market. It says its mission is to completely automate the process of personal item management by transferring the task of remembering where all of your items are to computers. At CES 2017 it’s showing off TrackR atlas, a home-based personal item management platform; TrackR pixel, a smaller and lighter form factor that lights up; TrackR wallet 2.0, a form factor equivalent to two stacked credit cards; and the new Amazon Alexa Find My Phone skill.

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