CDW and Parco offer first ultra-wideband RFID systems for health care, safety and emergency management organisations

Vernon Hills 28 October 2004CDW Corporation, a provider of name-brand technology products and services to businesses, government and education institutions, has signed an agreement with Parco Merged Media Corporation to market Parco Wireless, the first FCC-approved ultra-wideband radio frequency identification (RFID) solution created for health care, safety and emergency management organisations. CDW is authorized to sell Parco Wireless exclusively to those types of organisations along with related products that support it, such as video monitors and bandwidth.


"Hospitals, especially emergency rooms, are process driven", state Andy Gorski, manager of CDW's health care team. "Our customers have been asking for a better way to manage those processes. We're responding to their needs by providing Parco Wireless because we believe it can help them to improve quality control on medical and safety procedures as well as to strengthen inventory management capabilities."

"This announcement is an extension of CDW's commitment to serving health care organisations", Andy Gorski added. "We have created a dedicated health care sales team to develop a deep understanding of customers' needs. Based on what we have learned, we are now providing a new category of wireless solution to address specific business needs of our customers."

Adapted from military-grade equipment, Parco Wireless is a high-speed platform for developing precision indoor positioning systems. A Parco receiver up to 200 meters away can pinpoint the location of tagged medical equipment within three inches, enabling improved location accuracy. Systems that locate assets within distances of more than a foot can sometimes provide imprecise results because an object could be on the other side of a wall, for example.

Parco Wireless can also monitor proximity and time. It can tell how long a doctor has been physically near a particular patient or whether a device requiring decontamination has been sent to the proper cleaning area for processing. Users program the system to produce reports and alerts when predefined events take place. For example, if an infant is removed from the newborn nursery at an unauthorized time, the system could be programmed to alert the nursing staff and security automatically. The system can also deter theft by instantly alerting authorities when equipment is removed from authorized areas.

"We think CDW will be an ideal partner in serving the needs of health care institutions", stated Scott Cohen, Parco CEO. "The company has an impressive customer service track record and has the people and resources to make it easy for customers to acquire our technology. Ultra-wideband technology is ushering in a new era of wireless connectivity with unlimited applications. It provides numerous benefits over other technologies such as Wi-Fi and infrared, including better bandwidth, security and less interference from radio devices."

Rather than relying on a single frequency, ultra-wideband broadcasts controlled pulses over a broad frequency at very short time intervals. This approach moves large volumes of data wirelessly, including video, while consuming very little power.

Parco Wireless uses small ultra-wideband transmitters called "tags" that are attached to critical medical equipment or personnel. These tags communicate with a receiver that is connected to a hospital's local area network and sends the information to a specialized computer server that can display an accurate real-time view of the hospital's patients, staff and selected equipment on a two- or three-dimensional map. The information can be pushed wirelessly to personal digital assistants or to a command centre responsible for patient safety many miles away. Interference emitted from these tags is low enough to be successfully used in environments with very sensitive medical equipment.

Parco has also created a software development kit to help software publishers integrate Parco Wireless into their asset management programmes and other applications that can drive hospital productivity.

CDW is a principal source of technology from top name brands such as APC, Apple, Cisco, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Sony, Symantec, Toshiba and ViewSonic. CDW distributes contracts to end users for customized and standardized on-site services supplied directly by providers such as HP Services and Unisys and for training programmes provided by firms such as KnowledgeNet and Productivity Point International.

CDW was founded in 1984 as a home-based business and today employs approximately 3700 coworkers. In 2003, the company generated net sales of approximately $4,7 billion. CDW's direct model offers one-on-one relationships with knowledgeable account managers; purchasing by telephone, fax, the company's award-winning Web site, customized CDW@work extranets, Web site and Web site; custom configured solutions and same day shipping; and pre- and post-sales technical support, with more than 100 factory-trained and A+ certified technicians on staff.

Parco Merged Media Corporation, a privately held company headquartered in Portland, Maine is an exclusive license holder of advanced ultra-wideband technology for the health care and safety industry. Parco is the only one-source wireless health care communication systems provider using FCC approved UWB devices and open platform designs. The company's offerings include an award winning proprietary software development kit that allows seamless integration of most existing software data environments on any platform. The Parco Wireless Health Communication System is an open architecture that facilities and software designers can use to incorporate location data into existing applications. The developer's kit employs the latest Microsoft .Net Framework making it easy to code against for most existing hospital applications.

Leslie Versweyveld

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