Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS)
For centuries organizations have faced the challenge of locating
and tracking inventory and assets by brute force. The activity of
receiving, storing and issuing inventory items and tracking the use
and location of capital assets has remained essentially unchanged.
Whether by quill and scroll; pencil and clip board; or bar code
scanner and database, the process is fundamentally the same: receive
items, put them away, refer to some kind of list and then find them.
Along the way items get misplaced, moved, lost, or forgotten. Some
organizations have described their warehouse inventory process as
moving products from one black hole to another.
Imagine the challenge of trying to find the exact location of one of
thousands of containers in a large area where all of the containers
essentially look alike. These containers may be as small as a pallet
or as large as a trailer truck. While traditional technologies can
help record when a container was received and where it was delivered,
no system has been able to provide accurate real time location
information to the managers of complex operations. No system, that is,
until the introduction of
Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS).
Real Time Locating Systems are fully automated systems that
continually monitor the locations of assets and personnel. An RTLS
solution typically utilizes battery-operated radio tags and a cellular
locating system to detect the presence and location of the tags. The
locating system is usually deployed as a matrix of locating devices
that are installed at a spacing of anywhere from 50 to 1000 feet.
These locating devices determine the locations of the radio tags.
The systems continually update the database with current tag locations
as frequently as a few seconds or as infrequently as every few hours
for items that seldom move. The frequency of tag location updates may
have implications for the number of tags that can be deployed and the
battery life of the tag. In typical applications systems can track
thousands of tags simultaneously and the average tag battery life can
be five or more years.
Acknowledgement: Some of the
information on AIDC pages is based on the information in AIMGlobal's
website. We would like to thank AIMGlobal for this.