Real-Time Location Systems RTLS

How to Install a Real Time Location System (RTLS)

Chances are, you've never setup a Real Time Location System (RTLS). Convergence Systems Limited claims that their CS5000 series RTLS achieves one (1) meter accuracy and can be setup in under an hour, all for less than $5,000. Based on what our team has seen with other real time location systems, we are extremely skeptical. In this edition of The RFID Network we’re going setup, and test, an RTLS.

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RTLS Market Overview

RTLS Market Overview


Tracking resources has been a long-standing and continuous issue for enterprises. With various wireless technologies to facilitate such tracking being introduced in the last decade, enterprises have the opportunity leverage on some form of control over the manageability of it resources. As radio frequency (RF) based tracking systems become more advanced, enterprises presently have more options to have an efficient and effective means of tracking their resources.

A real time location system (RTLS) refers to the use of RF signals for locating and tracking resources that are tagged in real time. These resources come in many different forms, from high valued assets, semi-finished goods, raw materials to tracking of people. There are several variations of these technologies, but they are all categorized as RTLS technologies due to their features of offering the capacity to track objects, assets, and people in real time using RF. RTLS systems can offer the tracking of solutions at an enterprise level, both indoors or outdoors depending on the type of the RTLS chosen.

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Active RFID and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS)

Real Time Location Systems (RTLS)

A Real Time Location Systems or RTLS typically refers to a collection of sensors that work together to automatically identify and track the location of objects (including people) in real time.

Industry analyst firm Frost and Sullivan predicts the RTLS market will grow by 30 percent annually, reaching US $1.26 billion by 2011. It is hard to argue with the value. Enterprises achieve return of investment (ROI) from RTLS by:

  • improving asset utilization with real-time location of their assets;
  • improving processes through more transparent real-time visibility;
  • locating key personnel, like doctors, key technicians;
  • improving staff safety by tracking people in hazardous work environments.

Real-time location systems have matured and commoditized considerably. Now, an enterprise can get started with plug-and-play real-time location for under $3,000.

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Wi-Fi ID: How it Works

A plethora of devices exist today that use 802.11 wireless networks, including laptops, PDAs, wireless industrial equipment, barcode scanners, and vehicle-mounted terminals. They connect to a network via a wireless access point (WAP) or wireless-enabled broadband modem. Wi-Fi ID allows these devices to be located, and tracked, without modification using multiple WAPs and software. For everything else you want to track, there are 802.11 Wi-Fi tags. Like other active RFID tags in Real Time Location Systems (RTLS), these devices can be attached to just about anything you want to track.

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