Location-enabled Software for Manufacturing, Logistics Execution

Apriso, Aeroscout partner on real-time Wi-Fi-based system to track RFID-tagged assets

Apriso, Aeroscout partner on real-time Wi-Fi-based system to track RFID-tagged assets

Long Beach, CA — June 29, 2004 — Two solution providers have joined forces to create what they are calling the first global, real-time Wi-Fi-based location-enabled software to track assets for manufacturing and logistics execution.

The partners: AeroScout (formerly Bluesoft), which provides enterprise visibility solutions intended to bridge the gap between Wi-Fi, radio frequency identification (RFID) and GPS; and Apriso, which offers solutions designed to enable global corporations to define, operate and monitor supply, production and distribution processes in real time.

Wi-Fi is a set of standards for wireless local area networks (LANs) based upon the IEEE 802.11 specification. Originally conceived for LANs, its use is expanding into other application areas, such as RFID tags and location sensing.

Under the partnership, Apriso and AeroScout have combined the Wi-Fi location-sensing capability provided by the AeroScout product suite with Apriso's real-time, event-driven execution software, called FlexNet. The goal: allow businesses to optimize critical supply, manufacturing and distribution processes for carrying out production, logistics, quality control and maintenance tasks.

The providers said their joint solution will address many critical problems faced in production and inventory management environments. For example, they said, companies will be able to keep track of such crucial, constantly moving assets as forklift trucks and tools, where any delay can cause bottlenecks and inefficiencies, making task scheduling and delegation unmanageable. Additionally, companies can keep stock locations up-to-date and accurate without expensive searches and cycle counting processes, according to the two providers.

Andris Berzins, vice president of marketing and business development at AeroScout, said that RFID tags open up a world of possibilities for enterprises that creates value far beyond their use as simple bar code replacements. "The fact that a tagged item can now be continuously located in space enables the creation of a new class of 'location-aware,' real-time operations execution systems," Berzins said. "These new systems can continuously locate and track inventory and assets, providing new-found intelligence to significantly influence an enterprise's operational processes in real time."

According to Berzins, the potential benefits include the elimination of bottlenecks, better asset utilization, accelerated inventory turnover and enhanced return on invested capital.

Nelson Nones, vice president and chief products officer at Apriso, suggested that real-time location data can enable enterprises to realize significant cost savings by ensuring continuous movement of inventory through manufacturing and distribution processes.

"FlexNet has the unique ability to track the current and historical locations of 'mobile' resources, such as people, equipment and containers, built right into its fundamental architecture," Nones said. "In addition to geolocation by GPS and standard passive RFID methods, this partnership brings online AeroScout's AeroScout system that locates resources tagged with Wi-Fi based active RFID tags, as well as locates standard Wi-Fi devices, such as PDAs and PC terminals."

According to Nones, FlexNet translates site-specific x,y coordinates into geodetic coordinates that allow the location of resources to be determined both within a facility as well as on a global basis. "FlexNet is the world's first enterprise application software that was designed with location sensing in mind, and now with the integration of AeroScout, it is the first such application to support real-time location capability," he said.

The new partners said that AeroScout positioning applications program interface (API) will be fully supported in an upcoming FlexNet service release, available in the near future.