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Ultra Wideband technology (UWB)

Navigine - Ultra Wideband technology (UWB)
25 NOV 2020 · 13 MIN

The UWB indoor positioning system appeared more than 20 years ago but only recently it has spread to enterprises that require a standardized and unified wireless tool for connecting computer hardware. Using the UWB system, some really important tasks can be solved, including:

  • reliable data protection;
  • high-speed data transmission support;
  • object localization;
  • energy consumption reduction.

The Ultra Wide-band technology has potential. Thanks to high positioning accuracy, ranging from 10 to 30 cm, Ultra Wide-Band technology is widely used to control the perimeter of enterprise's dangerous places and control the implementation of KPIs at workplaces.

WHAT IS THE ULTRA WIDEBAND TECHNOLOGY?

UWB is an Ultra Wide-band technology used for transmitting high-frequency impulses at small distances. UWB signals are transmitted at frequencies of up to some GHz and reach the bandwidth from 25% to 100%.

Computers and peripheral devices require a high-speed interface but using Bluetooth and Standard 802.11 does not always help reach the set goals. The main disadvantage of such protocols is a small bandwidth (on average – up to 19 Mbits/sec), which is irrational for the applications that require high-rate transmission rates.

ULTRA WIDE-BAND TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

UWB-signals are identified as any other signals with a spectrum width of more than 500 MHz and the range from 3.1 to 10.6 GHz. They are weak enough (41.5 dBm/ MHz). The implementation of the technology does not require compliance with the condition of straight visibility it is carried out using only some external elements. The UWB RTLS (real-time locating system) is an expensive technical solution ensuring the installation of UWB tracking devices (trackers) with the ability to determine the location up to 10cm.

HOW DOES UWB WORK FOR INDOOR NAVIGATION AND TRACKING?

While implementing UWB location tracking into the enterprise infrastructure, each tracked asset is equipped with a special tag with a built-in or attached accumulator. In its work, the tag takes billions of radio impulses that are emitted at an interval of a nanosecond in a wide-frequency range. Receivers, or transponders, detect these signals and turn them into information which makes it possible to define the object’s location.

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ADVANTAGES OF THE ULTRA WIDEBAND TECHNOLOGY

At present, Ultra Wide-band technology has high prospects for development. It is supposed to be widely used in the nearest future in the mass market and help in realizing many business solutions. It is caused by the variety of advantages that distinguishes this system from similar ones:

  • absence of restrictions in HF-spectrum availability;
  • noise immunity;
  • possibility of simultaneous support of hundreds of channels;
  • wide range of scalability by speed;
  • simultaneous performance as a global, local and personal network;
  • global compatibility of devices that use the radio-frequency spectrum;
  • high data protection due to the signal power at the noise level;
  • spectral flexibility;
  • high-accuracy Ultra Wideband localization and object tracking;
  • possibility of creating an individual communication network that will peacefully coexist with other Wi-Fi technologies in the office.

Technology has not only advantages but also some disadvantages. Because of the wideband and high power, Ultra Wide-band signals can impede already existing systems and communication lines. Ultra Wide Band technology differs in short signal duration. Such signals can be detected by a matched filter or autocorrelation device but in this situation, the reception can be difficult to synchronize.

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SPHERES OF ULTRA WIDEBAND TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION

Every year Ultra Wide-band positioning is becoming more and more sought-after among business representatives. The technology used to be applied only at military sites, but now it is used in industry, healthcare, trading, culture, and logistics.

Retail and shopping centers

In trading, UWB ensures the transparency of goods and equipment location. It helps to organize convenient navigation around the store, build interactive maps with point-of-interest visualization, and carry out staff monitoring in real-time. Thanks to this system, retailers can easily improve staff performance and significantly increase customer loyalty to the given place.

Healthcare

Since UWB signals do not interact with each other and other radio frequency components, the technology can be successfully applied for creating noise-resistant solutions. Thus, in healthcare, it is used for tracking ventilators or X-ray equipment and for a quick search and localization of any other medical assets, including wheelchairs or costly machines.

Logistics and warehousing

The implementation of the UWB system into the warehouse infrastructure allows managing business processes more effectively. It is of high priority in tracking goods, stock, or vehicles, especially in cases when it’s necessary to know the exact location of assets. Companies can use the system for analyzing forklift and transport traffic, adjusting everyday tasks, which ensures effective business process optimization and helps to respond immediately to emergencies.

Industry

UWB tracking is widely used in the sphere of industry. Implemented into the factory infrastructure, the system performs several functions:

  • building interactive maps with access zones;
  • people and asset visualization on the map;
  • tracking objects in real-time;
  • creating optimal routes for vehicles;
  • warning on a possible collision with a vehicle or an employee;
  • equipment downtime control;
  • tracking staff contacts for complying with regulatory requirements and increasing labor safety.

Transport

The system can become an effective solution in navigation and positioning on the territory of airports or railway stations. It helps passengers to create the maps of the transport hub, build routes to the points of interest, easily orientate on the field. Placing tags on the equipment lets the management control its movement, define the exact location of self-propelled passenger steps, haulers, and platform buses. Moreover, the technology ensures constant tracking of the flows of people and helps to avoid jams in crowded places.

Museums and events

Ultra Wideband positioning can be used in museums for creating an intellectual mobile guide. Tags, attached to the exhibits, help visitors quickly find the necessary expositions. While using the platform, there is a possibility to monitor the flows of people at exhibitions and various events. It helps to evaluate the success of the current event and undertake effective planning of new ones. Visitor tracking makes it possible to increase safety and security, timely detect ‘problem’ areas, and optimize the arrangement of exhibits taking into account people’s interests.

Countering the spread of Covid-19

In 2020 the technology proved to be effective in solving the tasks of social distancing and monitoring the spread of Covid-19. UWB system is used in wearable devices (watches, badges, etc.) that send notifications about the necessity to keep the distance if you come too close to another person. Also, the system allows tracking contacts and, in case of infecting a person, it can easily identify those who have contacted him.

Navigine is ready to assist in organizing UWB tracking at an enterprise. We develop efficient software products that allow solving a wide range of tasks in the sphere of indoor positioning and navigation based on localization.

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Published:
Elvina Sharafutdinova
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