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RTLS – Meet the Real Time Location Systems

RTLS

You have certainly heard about real-time location systems, the famous RTLS. Using radiofrequency, this technology is responsible for tracking assets through tags and collecting data, allowing strategic decision making and enabling staff and machines management in a much more productive way.

Despite offering a wide range of protocols, many confuse RTLS with RFID and believe that this is the only application available. The problem is that implementing the wrong technology model can cause a huge headache for the manager and result in inefficiency and high expenses.

To get you inside the RTLS models, we list the main characteristics of the technologies and in what types of business they are best applied. If you want a complete overview of each of these protocols, we have recently prepared a free e-book on the subject!

 

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Yes! The so famous Bluetooth is a type of RTLS, but it is important to note that BLE is not the same as the technology present in cell phones, whose function is only to transmit data.

This protocol took on importance in 2011 and one of its main advantages is the low energy consumption and the possibility of be found in almost all smartdevices.

The tags that support the technology called beacons and versatility makes a strong presence, since they can take on different formats, from badges to pins.

BLE is quick to detect devices and has a range that ranges from 50 to 100 yards, which makes the cost / benefit ratio very good! It is even difficult to specify in which types of business they can operate, since they operate with great efficiency in most, be it industry, retail or hospital area.

This technology promises! Keep an eye on the market and follow innovations in BLE.

 

ZigBee

It is the main competitor of BLE and finds a strength in low energy consumption.

Although the range of the protocol varies from 10 to 100 yards, its efficiency is mainly in processes that do not need to track many things, since it does not allow high data transfer.

It works very well in energy management and lighting control, and is present in several areas of agribusiness, so if your company requires good geographical coverage for a low cost of implementation, it is worth considering ZigBee.

 

WiFi

Have you ever imagined that the popular WiFi would be on that list? Yes and the good news is that you can take advantage of the same network you use to connect to the Internet when using WiFi as RTLS.

Still, deploying this technology is not as cheap as it sounds. The high-energy consumption makes WiFi a somewhat salty option, but it can be worth it depending on what your business needs.

The advantages are great, and we have as an example the range, which varies from 100 to 300 yards and supports high data transmissions. In addition, tracking a person is not a difficult task, as he does not even need to be connected to the network, just leave the WiFi card of the cell phone active, although the accuracy is somewhat compromised when done this way.

Still, it is necessary to be aware of the weaknesses that, in addition to the high cost, present with low quality in the location and application made in smartdevices, but if your goal is to use your employees’ cell phone to track them, consider carefully the WiFi technology!

 

RFID

Ah, the famous RFID! He is the one to blame for all the confusion about radio frequency systems, but we have already proved that he is not the only one in existence!

Even so, it is impossible to stop talking about this technology. To implement the RFID system, you will need to choose between the two available tags: the passive one, which, although inexpensive, does not have its own battery and does not offer real-time location, and the active one, which requires a high cost of implementation.

The main strength of the system is the high precision and, together with the range – which varies from 3 to 100 yards, depending on the tag chosen – it provides a powerful system.

However, be careful! Again, the cost of implantation with active tags is quite high and the propagation of the signal gives only directionally, which requires a more dense coverage with antennas, making RFID not always the best option…

So, in order not to invest heavily in something that may not pay you back, find out what your real needs are. Many industries manage inventory with the technology, but only when they do not need information in real time, as well as apply it in processes that follow a methodology, since the area to be covered will not vary.

 

Ultra-Wide Band (UWB)

One of the most promising technologies, it combines incredible levels of speed with high precision, generating a margin of error that revolves around only 15 centiyards!

In addition, the UWB has a low noise rate thanks to its ability to cross physical obstacles and provides a range of about 50 yards.

However, not everything is perfect. The very high implantation costs and the need to place several fixed sensors to capture the data weaken the technology, making it necessary to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the UWB.

Because it has a strong indoor location with high precision, the technology can applied in industries, hospitals and any company that needs accurate information.

 

GPS (bonus!)

The Global Positioning System is not exactly an RTLS, but due to its popularity and efficiency, it never hurts to know how to apply it in business, right?

Despite its unlimited range and the ability to monitor large geographical distances, GPS has a large Weakness: it needs to be free to function, classifying itself as an outdoor technology.

Still, it can serve as an excellent complement to integrated location solutions that aim to monitor indoor and outdoor environments uninterruptedly, as via applications embedded in smartdevices, one of our specialties and differentials here at Novidá.

 

How Novidá technology can help you

After we explain the main protocols, you should already have a better idea of ​​what your business needs, and as a company, we can help you.

Novidá has its own software for indoor and outdoor geolocation that seeks to offer maximum flexibility with high cost / benefit. BLE, WiFi, GPS and cell phone signals mixed in our unique technology created to serve your business in the most complete way possible.

If you are looking for an IoT solution and are interested in ours, learn more about our solution and learn how we can help you.

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