Typically, when it comes to decision making, you get one choice or the other. You have to sacrifice one benefit to receive another. Sometimes, decisions aren’t too difficult and the pros easily outweigh the cons. This, unfortunately, is not always the case, especially when you’re making a large purchasing decision, like asset tracking. You often don’t know if the pros outweigh the cons until well after the decision is made. What if there was a way to have the best of both worlds in your asset tracking solution?
The Challenges of Typical UWB
When it comes to the ideal asset tracking solution, ultra-wideband (UWB) checks most of the boxes. The location accuracy UWB provides is almost unmatched. Of course, most manufacturing companies would like to choose the solution that tells you the location of your valuable tools within centimeters of accuracy. The biggest drawback to UWB location technology is its cost. Many manufacturers just don’t have the budget to invest in such an expensive system.
UWB is expensive for a few reasons, one being UWB chips are complex to make. This complexity has created a small pool of chip manufacturers leading to much higher costs per chip. The high price also results from the high energy consumption. The battery life of the average UWB tag is significantly less than the everyday Bluetooth tag, months compared to years. If UWB is in two-way ranging mode, the tag has to be on almost constantly because of the lack of time synchronization.
Manufacturers would love to invest in a technology that provides such high precision but typically choose a less expensive option with less accuracy. Link Labs has found a way for manufacturers to save money, reduce battery life, and provide the accuracy UWB is known for.
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How We Solved Those Problems
At Link Labs, we don’t want you to have to make the difficult choice between accuracy and cost. We created a solution that gives you the best of both solutions; the accuracy of UWB and the cost of Bluetooth Low Energy.
When our engineers sat down to accomplish their goal of providing UWB at an affordable cost with reduced energy consumption, they came up with the ideal solution. The biggest problem they wanted to overcome was how much energy UWB systems used, and they were able to. The tags still use UWB chips to “chirp” but communicate over our Xtreme Low Energy (XLE) radios. The tags don’t have to be on nearly as long as they would using UWB radios.
How Does This Unique System Help Manufacturers?
Many manufacturers face hurdles in their day-to-day operations that slow down or some cases, stop production. Asset tracking technology provides visibility of all aspects of production, like the location of tools and materials, how fast production is, and where any bottlenecks exist. As raw materials move through the production process, a lot of processes must take place for them to become finished inventory. If one part of the process doesn’t go to plan, production can be delayed, or there could be a quality issue with the finished inventory.
What Additional Benefits Does This System Offer?
There are a lot of different types of tools and equipment used to complete production. Some materials used only cost a couple of dollars, while others cost over $10,000. All are essential to get the job done, but not all are worth the investment of a $50 tag to track their location. Spending that much is worth it when the replacement cost is more than 200% more than the tag cost, but not when you’re tracking a bucket of screwdrivers. Which solution do you choose in this scenario? The more expensive tag to get an exact location of the compressor while spending excess money on the container of wires? Is the better option to spend a little less and get some crossover with only a meter and a half of accuracy? Well, you don’t have to choose one or the other. Since the UWB tags are used by XLE radios, you can use both technologies in the same system. You can spend the money to ensure the accurate location of the compressors and get a more affordable price on the less expensive bucket of screwdrivers.
How Does Merged Technology Impact You?
With this technological innovation, you don’t have to choose between two asset tracking systems. You can use UWB technology to get the accuracy you want at the cost you want. To learn more about this exciting innovation and how your company can benefit from it, book a demo with our team!