Monday, July 24, 2006

Firetide Announces Wireless Mesh/RFID for Automobile Dealerships

Firetide Inc., a developer of wireless mesh networks, is offering a customized solution for automobile dealerships. Bob Lewis Automotive, which has dealerships in San Jose and Newark, California, deployed Firetide's wireless mesh to enable outdoor operation of its key and inventory management system. The system utilizes the wireless mesh to create a property-wide wireless infrastructure to support the dealership's new KeyWhere Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking system that maintains live data on any vehicle on the lot. The KeyWhere system developed by Performance Analytics Inc., consists of portable electronic lockboxes attached to each automobile, enabling sales personnel to instantly access ignition keys for test drives by swiping a personal RFID card and entering a PIN on a lockbox keypad. The ignition keys also have RFID tags to indicate each time they are removed from or returned to the lockbox. A Wi-Fi or ZigBee wireless interface in each lock box transmits the collected data to access points attached to the Firetide wireless mesh network. The mesh is also connected to an Internet gateway inside the dealership office. All of the data and reports are maintained on a web-based database application developed for the automotive industry by Performance Analytics. By keeping the keys with the automobile at all times, the dealership was able to increase the number of test drives, leading to higher sales and faster inventory turnover.

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