While RTLS is often referred to as “indoor GPS”, the two technologies are quite different. As we know, GPS technology relies on satellite communication and works best outdoors where man-made structures will not interfere with the required signals. Alternatively, RTLS technology is designed to work primarily indoors and uses a network of mobile tags and fixed sensors that communicate using various radio frequencies, including the 2.4Ghz WiFi/Bluetooth spectrums and the 3.1 to 10.6 Ghz Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) spectrum.
In a typical RTLS implementation, the mobile tags are either worn by individuals who are moving, or attached to objects that will be transported, around the facility. Typically using radio frequency (RF) signals, the tags may communicate either with each other, or with a network of fixed sensors installed in the areas where the objects or people will be moving. A location algorithm is then used to determine the precise location, in real-time, of the asset or person within the facility.
It is this precise, real-time location tracking that differentiates RTLS from more traditional RFID solutions. RFID technology, which also uses RF signals to communicate between tags and sensors (aka readers), has been used successfully for many years, in numerous industries, to detect and verify the unique identification of both objects and people as they move around a facility. However, a typical RFID solution lacks advanced location algorithms, and therefore it only knows the last reader that detected a particular tag. As a result, it cannot pinpoint the exact location of the tag within the scanned area, nor can it guarantee that the tag is even still in that area. While it has many useful applications, RFID typically cannot compete with RTLS in use cases that require precise, real-time location tracking.
Learn more about RTLS through a series of whitepapers and educational videos offered by the engineering team of Flexware Innovation and contact us to discuss your possible application of RTLS in your facility.
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I’m drawn to better and smarter ways of working and communicating. Many times that involves technology. Sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, work can and should be improved – continuously. I’m drawn to the mission of Flexware Innovation for these reasons. We’re committed to unleashing the potential of technology, freeing up leaders to focus on what’s next.