4 things to know about BLE RTLS solutions before deploying – Real Time Locating Services (RTLS) Pro Tips – Part 2
Before choosing a Bluetooth RTLS solution, you should take into consideration four main aspects which should help you make an idea whether this technology is a good fit for your business:
Reliability and maintenance
When compared to older and well-established technologies which have nothing more to prove in the field, Bluetooth Beacon technology is no longer just a „cool” experiment when it comes to RTLS solution industry. Instead, it is now a fully grown-up, mature technology, which can be reliably used in business as long as it’s properly configured. However, unlike RFID tags, for example, which do not require any power source or maintenance, Bluetooth beacons require a power source. Most beacons use batteries as the primary power source, but some can be powered by an external source. Companies have to take into consideration regular battery changes (once 1-4 years depending on beacon type and/or settings) or installing a dedicated power infrastructure.
In a BLE RTLS solution, Bluetooth beacon technology can offer a reliable accuracy between 3–5 m, depending on the beacon type, vendor, configuration, environment and the client’s needs. If there is need for higher accuracy, Bluetooth is, unfortunately, not a good fit for that business.
Due to the fact that this technology uses radio waves, the signal quality can be influenced by the work environment and other interferences. Even though in open-space areas the beacon behavior and signal is strong and stable, they could even become ineffective in metal environments or heavily compartimented areas. We recommend companies to use a denser grid of beacons or even to take into consideration other technologies in this case.
Innovative features – some vendors offer beacons equipped with buzzers or LEDs which offer an audio or visual cue. This is useful in order to locate easier and faster an asset and distinguish it from similar ones. If your business requires quick asset locating, for example in a manufacturing environment where assets are identical or stacked, this apparently small feature might significantly improve the workflow.
Another sensors – Bluetooth beacons can be equipped with extra sensors, such as temperature sensor, gyroscope or pressure sensors, to monitor not only the location, but also the quality of the environment for use cases that involve more sensitive assets.
Read everything you need to know about RTLS solutions in the following white paper: