The Real Time Location System is a technology which helps to locate the item or person on a real-time basis especially indoors. This is important information leading to various uses in multiple scenarios and Industries.
Types of RLTS
There are typically two types of RTLS which are implemented a) Precision RTLS b) Proximity RTLS.
Precision-based RTLS: In this type, the location of the object or person tracked is pin pointed in an accurate way to the exact location. This calls more sensitive hardware and costlier too. This becomes useful in usecases like that of Inventory management.
Proximity-based RTLS: In this type, the location of the object or person tracked is tracked to accuracy of few square feet or within a zone. Advantage with these technologies is that they are cheaper to implement.
There are many technologies which are used for implementing RTLS solutions
Infrared based: In this the infra red based Tag emits an id which is transmitted to the Infra Red receiving unit on a periodic basis. In this case the line of sight needs to be available for the reader to pick the signal.
RFid based: is the type of technology (passive) there are battery-free tags and high-power readers. The high power readers provide a low-frequency radio signal that the antenna of the tag uses as the power and then the tag transmits the information, to the reader.
Wifi based: This one uses the wifi signal to transmit the information. Here the Time of Arrival and signal strength is used to find the location of the object tracked.
UWB based: It uses small, low-powered tags transmitting an ultra wide-band signal (UWB). The signal is gigahetrz wide signal and hence is more accurate. It is used for precision RTLS.
BLE based: The Bluetooth Low Energy is low power solution providing long battery life working on the core bluetooth band. The receivers are typically connected to the cloud and makes cloud based solution easier to implement.
The choice of the technology depends on various factors like cost, the use case and the special requirements of accuracy or the environment of implementation. It is therefore better left to a specialist to decide or suggest the technology. It is also needed to have a practical expectations so that the choice of technology best suits your purposes.
Usecases of RTLS
The need for locating assets and people has become a need of the hour and with technologies like RTLS making it so much feasible there is a high demand and new possibilities are being explored to put to use the RTLS.
Hospital: There is an emergency in a hospital and is very important to quickly locate a doctor, we can easily do so with RTLS.
Prison: Ability to track prisoners to ensure where each of them and locate them. This would have a good use in maintaining safety
Highly Secure Areas: It may be important to track who is in the sensitive area and anything unusual or unauthorized personnel in vicinity can be found to send out alarms.
Agriculture: In a large farm land, it would needed to track the equipments and their locations as well as the location of live stock
Healthcare: In healthcare industry too it is essential to know the location of movable life support equipment like oxygen cylinder.
Industries: In Warehouses if one has monitor the shipments in and out and create automatic log instead of a manual one.
Benefits of RTLS
The ability to locate assets as well as people provides many benefits to various scenarios:
The asset tracking no longer becomes an manual activity, instead is now feasible to automatically getting tracked with the ability to locate the asset in a dynamic manner.
Many times there is lack of accurate counts of assets specially if you have large warehouses and large plants where the assets can be spread and manual or physical inventory or count is always inefficient and inaccurate.
Typical regulatory compliances need that audit log of the assets be maintained. Using RTLS this can be implemented automatically and therefore the reports are accurately maintained and without the need for any manual intervention.