Getting started with RTLS

Guide to position technologies

Overview of RTLS Technologies


Location technologies can be a very complex topic, but we can help you with understanding basic concepts, that can help you to make the correct decision. It's important to know, that twinzo can combine several technologies in a single building, enabling our customers cost-optimized ways how to implement RTLS.

Topology

One of the most important distinctions is in the way the objects are tracked and how the infrastructure is installed. We can categorize it into passive and active infrastructure.

Passive

This topology is used solely by BLE technology. BLE battery-powered beacons are placed in stationary positions around the facility, serving as anchors for active devices, usually mobile phones or tablets, that are calculating position with respect to the anchors. Precision is around 3 - 5 meters. This option is optimal for forklift tracking or tracking of maintenance personnel and for a limited number of tracked objects as mobile devices require either constant charging or charging every 8 to 12 hours.

Active

Topology is very similar to WiFi, where you have to install around the facility antennas as anchors that are scanning the premises for tags. This is common for BLE, UWB, or RFID technology. A big advantage is high precision, commonly under 1 meter and with some technologies up to 20 cm, and low cost of tags. This enables high volume tracking use cases of material or people, and also safety-related use-cases. As the antennas require power either directly or through PoE, installation can be complex.


Technology

The most common RTLS technologies are RFID, BLE, UWB, and camera recognition. Each technology has its strong points and can have different variations. We often advise customers to choose technology based on use-case definition, because not all technologies support all use-cases.

BLE

Bluetooth low energy is very flexible technology, where depending on your needs you can choose passive or active infrastructure and depending on you localisation needs either trilateration or more precise Angle of Arival (AoA) technology.

Passive BLE

Precision 

3 - 5 meters

  • Require mobile device as a trackable
  • No cables
  • Maintenance costs connected to battery changes
  • No support

Active BLE

Precision 

3 - 5 meters

  • Uses basic BLE tags as trackable
  • PoE or power cabling required
  • Low maintenance costs
  • No support

AoA BLE

Precision 

<1 meter

  • Uses AoA BLE tags as trackable
  • PoE cabling required
  • Low maintenance costs
  • No support

Together with our partners we've prepared severa starter kits for you to choose from. Here you can find step by step instraction manual how to install passive BLE yourself.

TUTORIAL: Forklift optimization DO-IT-YOURSEL

UWB

Ultra-wide band is popular technology for high precision indoor localisation. the technology have also other uses, that are currently being popularized. Main advantage is ability to reach up to 10cm accuracy, making it great for the process optimisation, especialy in people or material tracking.

As UWB can work with very low latencies, the technology is often used for safety purposes and even colision avoidance.

UWB tags ca ncome in a larga variety of forms including badges, industrial tags, smart wathes and others.


RFID

RFID is a traditional technology for the location of assets. It can support pass-through (from one area to another through gates, presence detection, or around 1-meter accuracy of assets. A huge advantage is the absolute passivity of the tags, no battery is required. also, tags can be printed and can be cheap, making them perfect for high-volume, low-cost applications.

The downside is the limitation of the range and price of the antennas. The best environment for the technology is in places, where we are tracking hundreds or thousands of objects where the price of tags makes a big impact.




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