SAN JOSE, Calif. –Redpine Signals Inc. rolled out two Wi-Fi-based real time location systems tags, seeing an unserved market niche that is small but potentially lucrative for the second-tier Wi-Fi chip vendor.
Currently, RTLS tags are made by integrated system vendors who buy off the self Wi-Fi chips, package them into tags and sell them bundled with full systems and software. In this small market, retailers and warehouses that want to adopt the tags face start up costs of $500,000 or more, said Venkat Mattela, chief executive of Redpine (San Jose).
“The market size is nearly zero because the price is high,” said Mattela.
In hopes of enabling a broader market, Redpine will sell 2.4 GHz and 2.4/5 GHz 802.11n tags for prices ranging from $50 to $70 per tag and developer’s kits for $5,000. They will use open APIs and conform to the Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX) for Wi-Fi.
Mattela hopes the opportunity is one that is significant for Redpine but too small to attract Wi-Fi giants such as Qualcomm Atheros or Marvell.
“We believe the tag business alone could quickly become a $20-$30 million revenue generator,” he said. “What I’ve done in the last eleven years hasn’t come up to that,” he added.
The Redpine devices can be programmed to operate in a variety of modes. In CCX mode, they offer beaconing with configurable patterns, telemetry and alarm notifications. In Wi-Fi associated mode, they periodically connect to access points and communicate sensor and channel data to a server. In other beaconing modes, the devices support Wi-Fi clients with tag identification software to locate and identify assets.
“Redpine’s 5 GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi technology, support for enterprise security and partner ecosystem is a step in the right direction to accelerate growth in this market,” said Drew Nathanson, vice president of AutoID research at market watcher VDC Research Group, speaking in a press release.