The Ambient Difference

With the Product Series 3000, Ambient is bridging the gap between wireless sensor networks and the world of active RFID and real-time locating systems. On one hand, Ambient provides specific features that set it apart from other wireless sensor network technologies, such as the ZigBee protocol. These differences make Ambient’s network protocol more suitable for applications in dynamic environments, such as transport and logistics.

By building on typical features from wireless sensor networking Ambient is strongly differentiate it from traditional active RFID vendors. Compared to the previous generation of active RFID solutions, Ambient provides significantly enhanced capabilities at a much lower cost than traditional active RFID vendors:

• Ambient SmartPoints provide significantly more capabilities than traditional active RFID tags, such as self-localization, Dynamic Event Reporting and the ability to add any sensor.

• The Ambient wireless infrastructure is based on low-cost all-wireless MicroRouters that create a self-organizing wireless mesh network. The cost of this infrastructure is about one quarter of the costs of traditional active RFID and RTLS systems.

We explain some of these difference in more detail:

Real-time Locating System (RTLS) capability: Ambient SmartPoints are unique in their capability to determine their own location in the network. Our approach is similar to GPS, in which objects determine their location based on beacon messages from satellites. Instead of satellites, Ambient SmartPoint use messages from MicroRouters to determine their location. This innovative approach removes the need for additional (expensive) localization software.

Location of business logic: Ambient provides a very pragmatic and useable implementation of the concept of pervasive computing, in which intelligence is distributed from central IT systems to physical objects. With Dynamic Event Reporting, users can easily define the business rules that determine the behaviour of individual SmartPoints.

Memory in tag: SmartPoints have the capability to store 1 MByte of data, more than any other active RFID tag on the market. This enables the storage of historical measurements in the SmarPoint, as well as additional information about a physical object. This allows for a different approach to system integration requirements.

Sensors: Using the SensIO interface, SmartPoints can easily be integrated with any sensor.

Infrastructure costs: The costs are very low, as MicroRouters have a much lower price than traditional active RFID readers. In addition, the costs for cabling and labour our minimal, due to the ease of installation.

Ease of installation: Ambient networks are very easy to deploy, as MicroRouters create a self-organizing network. There is no need for complex configuration or calibration. In addition, MicroRouter are low-power devices that have the capability to operate on battery power.

Functional scalability: Ambient provides an integrated solution to monitor, locate an trace physical objects. An initial RTLS implementation can easily be enhanced with other applications, such as wireless monitoring of temperatures or security sensors.