IT & Data Center

Mist and partners teach Wi-Fi to understand its environment

by Max Smolaks
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Enabling access points to tap into indoor location tech

by Max Smolaks 21 February 2020

Mist Systems, a
subsidiary of Juniper Networks focused on bringing the benefits of AI and other
emerging tech to corporate Wi-Fi networks, has announced several partnerships aimed
at establishing its access points at the center of smart buildings.

The partnerships
enable Mist hardware to integrate with a range of location and connectivity technologies
including Ultra-Wideband, Wi-Fi Radar, LiDAR, Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) and
battery-free Bluetooth LE tags.

“It takes a robust
ecosystem to bring indoor location to stores, hotels, hospitals, campuses and
other AI-driven enterprises, so we are excited to be working with the best
vendors in the industry to make this a reality,” said Bob Friday, CTO of Mist
Systems.

Not your father’s
Wi-Fi

Mist is building
wireless access points that are capable of learning and self-diagnosis. After
buying the startup for $405 million in 2019, Juniper got hold of not just
wireless access points – which it was sorely lacking in its product lineup –
but also data scientists, machine learning engineers, and years of research.

The latest initiative
from Mist adds support for partner products that either map out the inside of
the building where the Wi-Fi access point is located, or enable new and unusual
connectivity services.

Mist has partnered
with Aerial for Wi-Fi Radar functionality, InnerSpace for LiDAR, Inpixion,
Quarion and Sewio for Ultra-Wideband, Wiliot for battery-free Bluetooth tags,
and SES-Imagotag and Solu-M for ESL.

Wi-Fi Radar

Wi-Fi sensing is an
emerging technology which enables motion detection, gesture
recognition as well as biometric measurement by using existing Wi-Fi signals. It has lots of potential,
but no current standards to speak of.

“We are already working with many customers to
address new clientless (device-free) location problems in the security, safety
and patient care areas and are looking to expand to use cases that we can solve
with our technologies,” said Michel Allegue, CTO and co-founder at Aerial
Technologies.

LiDAR

LiDAR, or Light
Detection and Ranging, is a type of sensor that measures distance to a target
by sending out pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected pulses that come
back. LiDAR can detect objects comprised of almost any material, and is at the
core of self-driving car tech.

“With Juniper’s
Mist wireless solution rapidly expanding its footprint in public and private
spaces, it integrates with our indoor location solutions to enable our shared
companies to radically transform the corporate campus," said James Wu, CEO
at InnerSpace.

Ultra-Wideband

Ultra-Wideband radio
technology enables real-time location tracking and is used in Industrial IoT
(IIoT), healthcare, enterprise, logistics and retail environments. It offers sub
1-foot accuracy when properly deployed, and will enable Mist access points to
address new use cases in the safety and high-value asset tracking areas.

“Together, our
solution will enable new customer segments to take advantage of indoor
positioning for use cases such as shelf-level asset tracking and others across
retail, healthcare, manufacturing and enterprise environments,” said Adam
Benson, CTO at Inpixon.

Bluetooth Low
Energy

Bluetooth LE tags
are increasingly used in retail for asset tracking; these include efficient, battery-free
designs that harvest energy by recycling radio signals. Mist is working with
Wiliot to simplify tag deployment and improve support on its converged Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
and IoT access points.

“Part of the value
of Wiliot’s sticker-sized battery-free Bluetooth sensor tags is the
ability to leverage existing Bluetooth infrastructure. Mist was born with
Bluetooth at its heart, so the adoption of Mist by some of the world’s biggest
brands and its ability to precisely locate our low-cost intelligent tags makes
for a compelling partnership,” said Steve Statler, SVP Marketing and Business
Development at Wiliot.

ESL

Electronic Shelf Labeling is once again primarily a retail technology. It involves low-cost digital displays that can update the price automatically from a central control server.

“Partnering with
Mist is a great opportunity to further accelerate the massive adoption of our
ESL and IoT solutions in North America and the world,” said Philippe Bottine,
CEO Americas at SES-imagotag.

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