When researching IoT solutions, it is necessary to remember that all enterprises are created equal. Ok, obviously that is not true.
Yet, for some reason, many decision-makers make a similar assumption when researching industrial technology that can connect their assets to the internet for tracking and monitoring purposes. If your organization has unique needs, then it needs to consider the various types of IoT asset tracking platforms to get the job done. Many enterprises run into common problems regarding asset tracking and monitoring that can be easily solved by conducting thorough research before implementation.
What are IoT solutions?
IoT solutions help in connecting devices, managing tasks, analyzing opportunities, and transferring information in a secure fashion. They provide a safe and secure environment to operate in and help achieve business growth.
IoT solutions have expanded to provide enterprises the insight they need to visualize where assets are located in real time through asset tracking platforms. There are many different connectivity options available to wirelessly connect asset tracking hardware to software systems. Some of these include Ultra Wideband (UWB), Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), and Xtreme Low Energy (XLE).
Two of the most common enterprise needs are industrial asset trackers with longer-lasting batteries while balancing asset location accuracy. Considering the features of each connectivity solution is a critical decision to solve those needs while increasing a company’s ROI.
What are the differences?
As covered above, there are a variety of connectivity options to provide your company with the best solution. Let’s take a look.
UWB is a radio technology that can transfer large amounts of data between devices. UWB devices work better when they are close to each other and have a clear line of sight. Hence, a UWB asset tracking system requires precisely placed readers based on significant calibration. When implemented correctly, UWB results in the highest accuracy within the industry, predicting the asset’s location within 10-30cm. However, the complexity of its installation makes it challenging and expensive to implement.
Bluetooth Low Energy and Xtreme Low Energy
Link Labs' most recent development, XLE, is a form of Bluetooth Low Energy that uses very little energy. But you might be asking, isn’t that what Bluetooth LE is supposed to do? Knowing the differences between XLE and Bluetooth LE can help you make the right decision for your enterprise.
Factors such as use case, accuracy, range, and installation all play a major role in which IoT connectivity solution to choose. Bluetooth LE and XLE equally have benefits tailored to meet a business’s specific needs.
Which connectivity option should you choose?
If you’re reading this blog, you probably fall into one of the following groups:
- Already using Bluetooth LE for asset tracking
- Searching for an asset tracking solution and comparing vendors
- Looking for an improved solution compared to current asset tracking IoT system
Either way, all groups may be asking the same question, is XLE worth the investment?
Let us illustrate this with an example. Imagine ABC Company wants to track inventory
in their warehouse, and they have 100 shelving units. For a Bluetooth LE system, a company can place as many or as few beacons as they need on the shelving units depending on the level of accuracy needed. This technique is referred to as proximity-based locating. For an XLE system, beacons are placed in a grid-like pattern every 15 meters or so. For high-accuracy situations, this significantly reduces the number of beacons needed.
The advantage of this technology is straightforward. If the ABC company decides to add another row of shelves, they might not necessarily have to add more beacons.
Here are some reasons that ABC Company might make a switch to an XLE system:
- Wall powered beacons that will never need battery replacements
- 7+ years for battery life
- More accurate with more area coverage
- Accuracy needed on x, y and z coordinates
If any or all of those reasons sound valuable to your company, it might be worth pursuing a switch or getting started with XLE.
What is your next step?
The answer depends on your use case. If you need a longer-lasting battery with up to meter-level accuracy, XLE might be the right solution. Regardless of what stage you are in your IoT solution journey, Link Labs can help you make an informed decision.
For more information on connectivity solutions, book a demo today.