When used for asset tracking, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) is a powerful connectivity option for industrial applications and Industrial IoT(IIoT) because of the low cost, long-lasting battery, and ability to scale. Bluetooth LE asset tracking systems provide real-time location updates, unlike passive RFID systems. Because of these benefits, Bluetooth Low Energy asset tracking solutions are a valuable option in industrial indoor applications.
Bluetooth Low Energy for Asset Tracking Provides Accuracy at a Minimal Cost
Bluetooth Low Energy indoor asset tracking systems are comparatively inexpensive to other solutions, such as Ultra-Wideband (UWB), because they implement components (such as asset tags and beacons) that are low-cost and mass-produced. Hardware components are used alongside software to allow for a tracking solution known as a real-time location system (RTLS). The utilization of a RTLS allows for extremely accurate tracking. This accuracy combined with the low-cost nature of the tags enables companies to scale quickly while remaining affordable.
Bluetooth LE Indoor Asset Tracking Systems are Highly Scalable
Due to the inexpensive nature of Bluetooth Low Energy tags used with an indoor asset tracking system, expanding the volume of tracking tags is highly affordable. Bluetooth LE systems are also easy to install. With Link Labs, it can be as easy as powering on. One consideration with scalability is the amount of system traffic that the RTLS solution can handle. If you have a large number of tags updating at the same time, the IoT solution needs to be able to handle all the messages without losing them. Many standard systems can only handle a small amount of messages at a time, which causes leakage and inaccuracy. Because scalability is so important as companies grow, it is vital that the RTLS system allows for simple and swift expansion of the existing system, whether that is through adding more tags to the system, or expanding the trackable area and increasing location accuracy by adding more beacons.
Battery Lasts Longer than Other Asset Tracking Solutions
The tags used with the Link Labs’ AirFinder Bluetooth LE indoor asset tracking system use non-proprietary, off-the-shelf batteries, so when they need to be replaced they are inexpensive and easy to change. Not only are the Bluetooth LE batteries inexpensive to replace, but they also can last for years. Bluetooth LE tags are, as the name implies, low energy. One way they conserve energy is by allowing the users to choose how frequently location updates are sent and remain in sleep mode when not in use. These tags are extremely customizable through the AirFinder software platform. They can be set to update location every couple minutes, once an hour, or on motion.
Recently, Link Labs released an even more efficient, patented version of Bluetooth low energy known as Xtreme Low Energy (XLE®). XLE® conserves energy even more than traditional Bluetooth providing 7 or more years of battery life on small tags, not much larger than a quarter in diameter.
Bluetooth LE Asset Tracking Systems are More Effective than Passive Tracking Systems
Bluetooth LE indoor asset tracking systems allow for real-time asset tracking. This means that at any given time, the current location of any Bluetooth LE tag is readily accessible. Because these tags are customizable, they can be set to update their location and condition when an internal sensor is triggered. Some examples include: when they detect collisions (such as a crash that might cause damage), when they sense potentially harmful conditions (such as temperature changes), or even when they detect movement. This is a major benefit to IIot industrial environments as it helps mitigate damage to equipment or inventory, while increasing productivity. An alternative to Bluetooth LE indoor asset tracking systems is a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system.
Passive RFID tags are generally much smaller than Bluetooth LE tags because they do not require a battery to operate. They work by attaching the tag to an object and then scanning the tags with an RFID reader when they leave a certain zone. The passive RFID systems are not capable of providing real-time locations, but are a great alternative if you’re in retail for example and need to deter and prevent theft at chokepoints. A potential problem with RFID is that a worker could accidentally not scan a tag, or if an asset goes missing there is no way to immediately identify location.
Wrapping it Up
We’ve covered several different advantages that Bluetooth Low Energy indoor asset tracking systems have. Bluetooth LE indoor asset tracking systems are a powerful yet cost-effective way to get the peace of mind of always knowing where your important assets are located.
At Link Labs, we provide the best fit solution for your industry. If you would like to see for yourself how AirFinder Bluetooth LE works, request a demo today.