Ekahau has excelled at getting its client software integrated with application-specific devices such as Polycom's Wi-Fi phones and Symbol's bar code scanners. It doesn't hurt that the company has an open licensing program that essentially delivers the software free.
Ekahau's Positioning Engine plays the customary role of managing tags, storing maps, calculating coordinates, configuring business and event rules, and communicating with other applications via XML-based APIs.
Ekahau can't claim Cisco Systems as an official partner, so it can't take advantage of Cisco's appliance, its tags aren't CCX certified, and its name doesn't appear on the Cisco-approved partners list--a significant weak point. But it does have other important collaborators, notably in health care, a key market for Wi-Fi location vendors. A recent win is the Carolinas HealthCare System, a large provider covering North and South Carolina. Five of about 20 locations were up and running at press time, with several thousand tags deployed for equipment tracking. Siemens, also well-known in the health care market, is a location services and site survey partner.
Scalability isn't a significant concern, whether the Ekahau system is run in beaconing or associated mode. The company says a correctly configured server can track as many as 10,000 objects and process around 600 locations updates per second, more than sufficient for most deployments. Pricing is primarily based on tags required, not on square footage covered. A system that would track 1,000 assets comes in just under $150,000, while one half that size is $89,500.
Ekahau was founded in Finland in 2000 and is now based in Saratoga Springs, Calif., with offices in Reston, Va., and Hong Kong. The company is privately held with a mixture of private and venture-capital backed funds (many Finnish) and industrial investors (3M, for example). Its latest venture capital round raised $12 million, which is being used to support geographic expansion, sales, and development.