Wi-Fi location tracking for assets and other object indoors
Last update 04 OCT 2022
Source - Hurca!™
Exact asset tracking inside buildings causes some difficulty in telematics. GPS/ GLONASS signals have difficulties in penetrating buildings and can’t detect correctly the location of objects, so Wi-Fi location tracking is an optimal solution. It can be used in any premises – from offices to large industrial complexes. The Wi-Fi tracking technology makes it possible not only to detect quickly the location of assets but also to track their trajectories, get detailed analytics of movements, and effectively optimize business processes.
Components for Wi-Fi Location Tracking
Wi-Fi position tracking systems require a given set of components. For implementing the technology into the infrastructure, enterprises have to apply the digital tracking platform, fixed receivers, wearable or built-in equipment.
Devices Receiving Wi-Fi Signals (Smartphones, Trackers)
For organizing indoor tracking, companies make use of a special Wi-Fi tracking tag that constantly scans all access points in the neighborhood. They can be smartphones, trackers, smart-watches, and other similar devices that allow locating assets and transmitting data. They are not connected to Wi-Fi networks but define their availability and measure the signal intensity.
Wi-Fi Routers, Antennas
Data transfer to the server is carried out using antennas and routers. These devices are used for transmitting data and also for exchanging information between personal tags and other access points.
One of the key components of the system is a tracking platform. It consists of the software for processing the data transferred from the server.
Functions of the platform:
- a quick search of equipment and vehicles;
- ensuring the safety of operations in the enterprise;
- instant notifications on emergencies;
- providing information on adverse working conditions.
The platform makes it possible to track the movement of objects in real-time. It helps to configure the notifications for the staff, build interactive maps, fix the time spent in restricted zones. The software saves the history of movements and provides it in the form of detailed analytical reports. Using analytics, the management can define the places with the highest and lowest flows of people, get useful information for optimizing logistics and reducing the number of emergencies.
Main Advantages of Wi-Fi Tracking
With the emergence of mobile applications for navigation and positioning, Wi-Fi based location tracking is becoming more and more vital. WiFi asset tracking can simplify the process of monitoring the movement of objects and increase labor safety.
Key benefits of the Wi Fi tracking system:
- possibility to use for tracking the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure;
- the longer range of signal propagation (on average up to 150 m);
- possibility of scalability practically without manual intervention;
- easy integration of the technology with other positioning systems;
Things to Be Considered While Implementing Wi-Fi Asset Tracking Systems
Before realizing the wireless indoor tracking system, it is necessary to consider carefully all the issues and difficulties connected with the platform implementation. Below there are 5 factors that will help you to decide if it is reasonable to use this particular system or you should pay attention to other RTLS technologies.
While deploying the platform, one should make sure that Wi-Fi infrastructure in their enterprise has enough density for maintaining the full-scale operation of the system. If there aren’t enough access points, it’s recommended to think about their installation. If modernization is not possible, it’s better to pay attention to alternative technologies that require less equipment.
Wi-Fi technology allows detecting object location with accuracy from 10 to 20 m (under the good density of access points). To achieve such indicators, it’s necessary to have at least three access points. Before implementing, you should make sure that you will be able to ensure the existence of the required number of points for maintaining the desired accuracy of tracking.
Thanks to a limited range, Wi-Fi is an optimal solution for organizing tracking inside buildings. Technically, the system can track objects not only inside, but also outside, but if you need an effective platform for asset tracking inside and outside, you’d better choose the combination of active RFID, GPS.
Wi-Fi vs GPS
Although both Wi-Fi and GPS systems are successfully applied for defining object location, they differ in many aspects. Let’s compare these technologies and discover differences.
- Ways of positioning. Wi-Fi positioning is carried out using special sensors constantly scanning the nearest points of access. GPS is based on satellite communication, when space satellites send out signals and GPS receivers use these impulses for calculating their location.
- Location of use. GPS ensures high accuracy of object tracking only outside. When tracking assets and persons inside buildings, the system not always provides accurate results. The reason is the absence of direct visibility of navigation satellites. Wi fi location tracking is perfect for solving tasks inside buildings. The sensors quickly detect the points of access and enable the exact localization of both stationary and moving objects. The more points of access, the more precise the search is.
- Accuracy. GPS accuracy is higher but exclusively outside buildings. If one needs to navigate inside buildings, it’s better to choose Wi-Fi tracking that tracks assets with an accuracy of 5-10 m.
- Energy consumption. The sensors for organizing Wi-Fi position tracking consume minimum energy. They need only a few seconds to find a point of access, while GPS may need 30 or more seconds for activating.
- Implementation costs. Wi-Fi systems can be deployed on the existing infrastructure, so the platform implementation won’t require high costs. The main expenses account for Wi-Fi tags that cost about 40-60 US dollars per item. When using GPS, money resources are necessary for purchasing receivers, which can be costly.
Spheres of Wi-Fi Tracking Use
WLAN location tracking can be successfully applied in many spheres, including industry, healthcare, sales, and offices.
Using this platform, it is possible to control the work of any shopping center. Special badges, placed on the employees’ uniforms, are used for tracking them and coordinating their daily tasks. In case of emergencies, the employees get instant notifications and are directed to the necessary areas in the shop. The system simplifies the process of setting tasks for the staff and improves the quality of customer service.
The technology simplifies medical equipment tracking. With the Real Time Location System for hospitals on based Wi-Fi, the hospital management is always aware of equipment location, which defines its availability in real-time and increases staff performance efficiency. Some medical institutions use the platform for tracking patients. Special bracelets with tags help to get the data on hospital occupancy, forecast hospitalization, and quickly react to incidents.
In the field of retail, the system is necessary for tracking outsourcers and working equipment. Constant control ensures some significant advantages:
- improving communication between employees;
- increasing labor safety;
- enhancing the quality of customer service.
The technology allows increasing the performance of business centers. It is especially beneficial for large offices with big flows of people, including trainees, clients, and partners. The system helps to track the location of objects and send notifications on various actions and situations. The platform implementation can improve business processes and optimize the work of office systems.
Navigine specializes in developing innovative tools in the sphere of indoor tracking and offers Wi-Fi tracking systems for various spheres of economy. We are ready to provide customized solutions that will help you to optimize the work of your company.
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