In present-day realities, the search for new ways of improving business processes is directly connected with geolocation and positioning technologies. One of such solutions is RFID, a system of radio frequency identification, which allows tracking objects or persons. It is based on using readers and special RFID tags (transponders) that are placed in the form of tags, stickers, markers on tracked objects. From time to time readers send signals and tags using radio frequency emission for sending responses with data for identification.
RFID systems are widely used in various industrial scenarios, such as international trade, logistics, healthcare and many others. It helps to monitor assets, ensure safety of goods and equipment, and coordinate staff workflow. Despite its high efficiency, recently many RFID alternatives have appeared which sometimes are even better in terms objects localization. What are these alternatives? What advantages do they have?
At present, there is a wide range of technologies that allow the tracking of objects in real-time. We’ll consider four alternatives and speak about the ways of their application and advantages for enterprises.
The system is based on the ability to define the signal level of devices and convert it into the distance. While implementing this technology, it’s possible to use the existing company’s Wi-Fi infrastructure and a special WiFi tracking tag, which makes it possible to save money on the system deployment.
The technology can be used for indoor positioning, sending push notifications with advertisements to clients, providing communication channels for users. The main advantages of the Wi-Fi network are the following:
- high-speed data transfer;
- possibility to implement the system without cabling;
- higher accuracy in comparison with the active RFID;
- low level of emission, which ensures safety for users and environment;
- increased working place mobility (employees can move freely around the premises within the active range of the network).
The system can be applied in many scenarios for defining a location in shopping centers, logistics warehouses, industry, real estate, medical institutions.
Ultra-Wide Band (UWB)
Ultra wideband (UWB) technology is used in cases when high accuracy of tracking is required. The UWB system is based on electromagnetic radiation and allows monitoring objects to within 1 sm. In contrast to Ultra Wide Band technology, RFID is not able to provide such high accuracy since it can only detect the presence of people or objects in the room.
UWB helps to solve tasks of tracking objects and increases the level of labor protection. UWB advantages are:
- high accuracy of positioning;
- simultaneous support of dozens and even hundreds of channels;
- wide range of scalability;
- quick and easy deployment.
In most cases, UWB technology is used in industry and warehousing (for tracking goods in the warehouse of loading). This positioning technology makes it possible to define the exact location of any equipment, which ensures the safety and security of objects in the company.
iBeacon technology works using Bluetooth and provides for the installation of beacons that send signals at regular intervals. As soon as the user enters the zone of data distribution, his smartphone receives notifications with useful information or advertisements. The scenario of using beacons is similar to Wi-Fi but differs in the way of connecting mobile devices. The technology can be used for making interactive maps, building routes to the necessary objects, getting analytics on visitors’ traffic.
- compatibility with most modern smartphones;
- possibility of creating personalized notifications;
- availability, easy installation, and deployment;
- wireless realization;
- low energy consumption (beacon batteries last 2-3 years).
iBeacon is characterized by flexibility and is suitable for implementing into any sphere. Based on this technology, one can create effective mobile applications for stores, airports and train stations, hospitals, offices, and transport companies.
RFID is more suitable for stock tracking, inventories in warehouses, business process automation in production. UWB technology has a similar sphere of application. If apart from exact object positioning, the company also needs a tool for boosting marketing performance, tracking based on iBeacon and Wi-Fi is more suitable.
Navigine develops and implements indoor positioning systems based on iBeacon, Wi-Fi, UWB, and other technologies. The cooperation with us lets clients get reliable geolocation tools for navigation and indoor positioning.
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