The Power of Precision: A New Perspective on Real-Time Location Systems
Wasting time trying to locate items in transit can cost your business a lot of money. In the fields of manufacturing and logistics, in particular, companies expend an enormous amount of time and resources keeping track of everything from inventory to pallets to shipping containers. In recent years, the advent of real-time location systems (RTLS) has helped companies improve efficiency and security of their operations while saving them money, stress, and time.
RTLS systems use advanced technologies to track the real-time location of objects within a defined area. These systems are built to provide accurate, real-time information about the location and movement of objects, making it easier for businesses to manage their operations and make data-driven decisions. For example, knowing the exact location of a pallet of inventory enables a company to accurately forecast when customers will receive their orders. If there is an unexpected delay, the business will know immediately and will be able to take action to solve the issue or inform the customer in time to avoid disappointment and causing damage to the relationship.
But not all RTLS systems are alike - the technology in use can make a big difference to the system’s scope, accuracy, and usability. In this article, we will explore five of the most common RTLS technologies on the market today and explain how Deeyook’s innovative ultra-precise location as a service is a game changer on the RTLS stage.
Best - 1, Worst - 5
Global Positioning System (GPS) is one of the most widely used RTLS technologies, using a satellite to provide location data to a receiver on the ground. While GPS can provide accurate location information, it does require an unobstructed view of the sky in order to do so. Hence, it cannot provide an adequate solution to indoor positioning challenges. This technology is frequently used in the transportation and logistics industries, as well as in agriculture and construction.
An advantage of GPS is its availability worldwide. Because it is powered by satellites, it can be accessed by anyone with a tracking system and a GPS receiver with minimal set-up or training required.
However, the disadvantages and limitations of GPS are numerous, especially, as mentioned above, in indoor settings. The system is unable to penetrate solid ceilings or walls or even dense trees, making it less than helpful inside a warehouse or any other structure, underground, or in places with dense foliage. In addition, the location accuracy provided by GPS depends on the quality of the signal received, which can be impacted by the atmosphere and gravitational pulls, as well as the type of receiver used. Typically, the accuracy of GPS ranges between 10-15 meters.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) uses radio waves to identify and track the location of objects. This technology is used by attaching an RFID tag with a unique identifier to an object and then using an RFID reader to send a radio signal to the tag which responds with its identifier. Both active and passive RFID tags are available, the difference being that active tags include a battery enabling them to broadcast their signal automatically. A passive tag can only transmit its signal when an RFID reader is within range. The RFID reader sends this information to a computer system that can track the object’s location.
While RFID usage in warehousing and manufacturing is common, its characteristics make it inefficient in many RTLS use cases, mainly due to the fact that passive RFID tags only transmit location data when they pass a reader device. This manual scanning process can be almost as time-consuming as searching for a product without any location trackers, and it is also easily prone to errors.
Additional downsides of RFID are the high initial cost to set the system up and privacy and security concerns as most RFID tags don’t come with built-in security measures making it possible for data to be stolen.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
BLE beacons continuously transmit a Bluetooth signal that other Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as location tags and associated beacons, can detect. When a location tag comes within range of a beacon, it can receive the beacon’s signal and determine its location based on the strength of the signal.
A business might choose to use BLE for location tracking because it is simple to use and is compatible with most standard smartphones and tablets, so there is no need to purchase additional equipment.
There are a few drawbacks to using BLE, however. The most significant disadvantage is that BLE can only work over short distances and can only track items up to 200 meters away. The technology was designed primarily for short distances, which is not a practical solution for many large manufacturing or warehousing companies.
Similar to BLE, Wi-Fi also uses radio waves to transmit data between devices, and it can be used to track the location of other Wi-Fi-enabled devices within a defined area. There are several different techniques that Wi-Fi uses to locate the position of other devices, with the most common being received signal strength (RSS). In this method, an existing Wi-Fi access point determines the location of another Wi-Fi-enabled device by triangulating its signal strength with other access points.
Offices, retail stores, and other indoor environments are good places to use Wi-Fi for location tracking, primarily because these locations are likely already equipped with Wi-Fi infrastructure, and there is no need to invest in additional equipment. It is also easy to scale up and improve accuracy by adding additional access points.
The biggest disadvantage to Wi-Fi location tracking is the lack of accuracy. It is generally accurate up to 15 meters, which does not meet the needs of use cases requiring precise location tracking. Additionally, Wi-Fi networks are at high risk of security breaches, making them a less-secure choice for location tracking.
A technology that uses a wide frequency range to transmit data, UWB occupies a large portion of the radio frequency spectrum, typically ranging from 3.1 GHz to 10.6 GHz. It is characterized by its ability to transmit a high amount of data over a short distance with relatively low power consumption.
What may prevent some businesses from choosing UWB is the high cost of the initial infrastructure needed to set up the system. The location tags are also costly (although they are long-lasting), and UWB systems generally need at least three receivers. The readers are expensive and require precise synchronization to be able to obtain accurate locations. In many cases, companies are willing to give up on the extreme precision in order to save on cost.
A New Approach to RTLS
Deeyook’s revolutionary RTLS technology stands out from the rest because it incorporates the best features of existing technologies while overcoming many of the most difficult challenges. Deeyook’s system offers superior accuracy and lower TCO, with no need for additional IT or beacon deployment.
By leveraging AP WIFI CSI signals and utilizing Huygens Interferometry technology, the patented solution works equally as well both indoors and outdoors. With the implementation of AI and dedicated firmware, Deeyook extracts the angle of departure and triangulation of access points, providing users with unparalleled accuracy under any conditions at the lowest price.
Because this solution relies on existing Wi-Fi and cellular signals, purchasing or installing costly infrastructure is unnecessary. Further cost savings are realized as the system uses significantly less power than other solutions and can be up and running almost instantly. Businesses in the manufacturing, logistics, and warehouse spaces in particular can increase their productivity, save on costs, reduce waste, and provide better service to their customers.
The Bottom Line
As companies look for ways to stay competitive in today’s market, having constant, real-time visibility into the exact location of all products, inventory, shipping containers, etc. can provide a real edge. A solution that provides this visibility with the utmost of precision in both indoor and outdoor environments without costly infrastructure is a game changer. The new generation of RTLS will enable businesses to improve their efficiency and their bottom lines.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Deeyook can help you and your business locate everything - anywhere, anytime.