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 :
In this type, the location of the object or person tracked is pinpointed in an accurate way to the exact location. This calls for more sensitive hardware and is costlier too. This becomes useful in use cases like that of Inventory management.
In this type, the location of the object or person tracked is tracked to an accuracy of a few square feet or within a zone. The advantage of these technologies is that they are cheaper to implement.
REAL-TIME LOCATION SYSTEM (RTLS) TECHNOLOGIES
There are many technologies that are used for implementing RTLS solutions
1] Infrared based
In this, the infrared-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.
2] 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.
3] 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.
4] UWB based
It uses small, low-powered tags transmitting an ultra wide-band signal (UWB). The signal is gigahertz wide signal and hence is more accurate. It is used for precision RTLS.
5] BLE based
The Bluetooth Low Energy is a low-power solution providing long battery life working on the core Bluetooth band. The receivers are typically connected to the cloud and make the cloud-based solutions easier to implement.
The choice of technology depends on various factors like cost, the use case and the special requirements of accuracy or the environment of the implementation. It is, therefore, better left to a specialist to decide or suggest the technology. It is also needed to have practical expectations so that the choice of technology best suits your purposes.
Use cases 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 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 good use in maintaining safety
- Highly Secure Areas: It may be important to track who is in the sensitive area and if anything unusual or unauthorized personnel in the vicinity can be found to send out alarms.
- Agriculture: In large farmland, it would be needed to track the equipment and its locations as well as the location of livestock
- Healthcare: In the healthcare industry it is essential to know the location of movable life support equipment like oxygen cylinders.
- Industries: In Warehouses, if one has monitored the shipments in and out and created an automatic log instead of a manual one.
Benefits of Real-Time Location System (RLTS)
The ability to locate assets as well as people provides many benefits to various scenarios:
1] Asset Tracking
Asset tracking no longer becomes a manual activity, instead is now feasible to automatically get tracked with the ability to locate the asset in a dynamic manner.
2] Inventory Management
Many times there is a lack of accurate counts of assets especially 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.
3] Legal Compliance
Typical regulatory compliances need that audit logs of the assets to be maintained. Using RTLS this can be implemented automatically and therefore the reports are accurately maintained and without the need for any manual intervention.