Troy Miller, Vice President of Applied IoT Solution Sales at Acuity Brands®, joined Catherine Bruce for this week’s episode on the Bright Ideas series. According to a study published by Kenneth Research, the market for real-time location systems is projected to grow almost 30% over the next eight years, and Troy is right in the middle of this industry as it’s gaining momentum.
WHAT ARE REAL-TIME LOCATION SERVICES AND THEIR BENEFITS?
Real-time location systems, or RTLS, is a wireless system that allows its user to track objects or people within their indoor facility space.
The spacial awareness offered by RTLS offers facility managers or owners something many of them have never had before: the means to locate or analyze the use of their assets in, as the title suggests, real time.
These systems are growing in popularity because wireless technologies – which have become far more common in the industrial space – are making them far more easy to implement than ever before, Troy explained.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO INSTALL AN RTLS?
It can be challenging to figure out which type of real-time location services are the best for your space or business. The most common RTLS use wi-fi, ultra-wideband, radio frequency identification (RFID), or Bluetooth® Low Energy.
Each of these technologies has its advantages and disadvantages, Troy cautions, so in the end your verdict should come down to what your application needs and what you want to track.
For example, RFID has a relatively small and low-cost tag which can be attached to anything. However, the infrastructure costs can get quite high; because the more assets or infrastructure or reference points you want to accurately follow, the more tags you’ll need.
Alternatively, wifi can avoid that infrastructure burden by piggybacking off of the existing system. However, using wifi for tracking assets with real-time location services can lead to bandwidth and security issues.
Ultra-wideband has no latency issues in regards to data, and it offers relatively high accuracy on tag precision and location. However, these tags and their implementation can be expensive, and their battery life can sometimes pose problems as well.
Lastly, Bluetooth Low Energy technology is an industrial standard that many devices commonly have already; so it’s frequently adopted in the RTLS space. The tags are relatively small and can last for years, which makes it a really good solution.
WHAT DIFFERENT RTLS TECHNOLOGY IS ATRIUS IMPLEMENTING?
Over at Acuity Brands, Troy has been working with a solution called Atrius®– which uses Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technology. The solution is unique because it uses a facility’s lighting platforms for its infrastructure.
Light fixtures present a natural grid system already present in every building, already organized and already supplied with power. That’s a benefit to users because they don’t have to be concerned about the battery life of Bluetooth beacons.
The Atrius solution is also flexible because the user can collect the timestamped data into their own platform and analyze it however they see fit. Next week’s episode will dive deeper into how real-time location services like Atrius can be deployed– but in the meantime, you can visit acuitybrands.com/products/internet-of-things to learn more.
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