Bluetooth for Asset Tracking? Yes

July 2, 2021


Link-Labs-BluetoothMuch like how Bluetooth connects your phone in your car and your speakers at home, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) can do the same for tools, maintenance items and pretty much anything else that requires location tracing in your plant. That’s the word from Link Labs, a provider of low-power, wide-area network technologies that power the Internet of Things (IoT). 

In its most recent blog, Why You Should Choose BLE Instead of UWB for Commercial Asset Tracking, the Annapolis, MD, company laid out the case for BLE, and how, with its, simple setup, low cost and long battery life, BLE can be an effective alternative to other wireless location technologies, including Ultra-Wideband (UWB).

Designed especially for short-range communication, BLE exchanges very small amounts of data, which is key to its cost-effectiveness and reliability. Suppose an asset tag’s location must be communicated to an IoT platform…data-transfer amounts are minimal, making it ideal for indoor positioning use and battery-life savings.

A more complex system, UWB, according to the blog, “uses hundreds of megahertz to transmit messages to give accuracy of an asset’s location within a range of 10-30 cm. (Such precision only can be attained) when assets have a clear line of sight from tag to location transmission device—such as a beacon or mobile phone—and are close together.”

Placing BLE beacons throughout an indoor facility enables manufacturers to track assets within a specific area, or more closely identify location by adding more beacons.

“Unlike UWB, there is no need for a clear path between tags and beacons to communicate location with each other,” the blog offers. “More beacons enable better accuracy, but it’s up to your specific needs how many to use. UWB has greater precision, but if your use case can work with meter-level accuracy instead of foot-level accuracy, BLE is the path for you.”

The complexity and higher power needs of UWB can drive up cost. And, the blog reports, BLE tags (tags are major costs in asset-tracking systems) are much less expensive as compared to other location technologies such as UWB.

Industry-Related Terms: Case
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

 

See also: Link Labs

Technologies: Sensing/Electronics/IOT

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