RTLOC blog:

Best local position tracking technologies in 2020

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Technology options

So you want to accurately track something, a person or an object, in a local area. Then you will need a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) to do so.

There are different technologies with which one can implement a RTLS. There’s RF-based technologies such as Bluetooth (BLE), Wifi and Ultra-Wideband and some other options such as camera-based tracking and laser tracking. Which technology is the “best” one will depend on the project parameters and priorities. A (simple) comparison of some RTLS technologies:

For RF-based tracking, Ultra-Wideband offers the best possible accuracy hands down. UWB can achieve this accuracy thanks to the broad spectrum width it uses to transmit messages. The use of a wide-frequency spectrum means that the signal can be short, enabling accurate tracking. UWB positioning systems are able to pinpoint location in real time to within 20 centimeters or less.

Usecases

One use case is delivering insights. In sports for example, gathering trajectory data and other sensor data can deliver unique insights to the coaches, the players and possibly even the audience.

Another use case is automation. It allows steering robots and drones, for example in warehouses. In this scenario also safety is impacted.

Trade-offs

As mentioned ultra-wideband can offer high-accuracy and high-performance compared to other RF technologies. But there are some trade-offs to be made. The UWB-enabled devices are (currently) more expensive than for example Bluetooth-based tracking devices. There’s also some setup complexity: you need accurate positions of your anchors in order to get accurate RTLS output positions.

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