At AiRISTA, we do the homework for you to ensure a state of art RTLS solution based on the best Wireless components in the industry.
The focus on excellence begins with the MCU
To appreciate what goes into AiRISTA’s A1 Bluetooth® Low Energy tag, lets take it apart. The A1 RTLS tag is the simplest tag in AiRISTA’s wireless tag portfolio and the most popular. The A1 is the heart of solutions including Social Distancing, Contact Tracing, Asset Tracking, Staff Safety, Hand Hygiene, Patient Flow, and Inventory Monitoring. The A1 tag brings together technology from a variety of vendors, none more important than AiRISTA’s relationship with Texas Instruments (TI).
At the heart of AiRISTA’s A1 Bluetooth® LE tag is a TI microcontroller unit (MCU). The TI MCU provides transmit and receive functionality for protocols including Bluetooth® LE 5.2. To create a complete tag, AiRISTA adds a power source (coin cell battery), I/O interfaces for external interaction (button, LEDs, buzzer), processor, memory, sensors (temp, humidity, motion), and an antenna. The resulting circuit board is roughly the size of a quarter which is enclosed in an IP67 rated clamshell case. As a client device, the A1 becomes part of a complete solution with supervisory oversight from the Unified Vision Solution (UVS) software platform. UVS turns information from the A1 RTLS tag into insights that solve real business problems.
AiRISTA plows a disproportionate share of profits into R&D. Part of the R&D effort goes toward evaluation of silicon vendors. We will generally evaluate up to 5 vendors when considering a new design and whittle that to 3 vendors for a deeper evaluation. With more than 10 years of RF module designs to our credit, we continue to find Texas Instruments leading the pack.
Why Texas Instruments
Year over year we find Texas Instrument’s radio and chip designs ahead of the competition. As part of TI’s ecosystem, we have access to powerful and open SDKs which provide flexible access to low level radio functionality. This allows for design creativity to help set AiRISTA solutions apart.
As a process driven organization, Texas Instruments has consistently delivered against its road map. TI’s excellent support extends beyond development and design and continues as a close support partner into production and the end user experience.
AiRISTA’s success with TI components has led to an expanded role, as TI supplies a wide variety of devices from Bluetooth® LE, to power ICs, and even WiFi and Sub 1 GHz. TI’s robust solutions are exercised in a wide range of solutions including medical equipment, building automation, personal electronics, factory automation, and more. This breadth of solutions drives stability, and the scale helps drive down costs. And as a manufacturer of their own silicon, TI is able to minimize potential supply chain disruptions with customers.
BLE 5.1 – Putting it together
Real time location solutions (RTLS) have been available for a long time. But not until the introduction Bluetooth® LE based solutions did the three main points of objection get addressed.
- Battery life – by its “low energy” nature, Bluetooth® LE allows a tag to operate for several years on a single charge.
- Cost -found in millions of consumer devices, the volumes of Bluetooth® LE devices have ridden down the consumerization cost curve.
- Accuracy – with the introduction of Bluetooth® LE 5.1, Bluetooth® LE is capable of submeter accuracy as well as the ability to track in the vertical dimension.
Bluetoooth® LE 5.1 achieves submeter accuracy using a technique called Angle of Arrival (AoA). Several micro-antenna are laid out precisely on a circuit board and the differences of the arriving radio signals’ angles to each antenna are compared (differences in “angle” are actually differences in the phase of the arriving wave). The resulting computational load requires an efficient software stack. AiRISTA married a compact antenna design, and efficient software, to the latest TI MCU to create a world-class RTLS solution. The resulting Bluetooth® LE reader can be deployed across a continuous horizontal plane (unlike competitors whose readers must be mounted at varying heights) and can handle hundreds of end points at the same time.
Bluetooth® LE 5.1 open use cases previously relegated to more expensive and finicky radio technologies. The solution can be used to track inventory on shelves, operator/machinery associations, warehouse picking solutions, and heads-up display navigation for installers. At AiRISTA, we do the homework for you to ensure a state of art solution based on the best components in the industry.