Using BLE tags to track assets

For a real time locating system (RTLS) to provide accurate, consistent information regarding the whereabouts of assets, it’s important to have a reliable means of tracking assets. There are many connectivity methods that asset tracking tags and systems can utilize to communicate with one another. One of the best indoor positioning solutions available, though, is using Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) tags. But what makes BLE such a good connection method for indoor asset tracking?

Read on to find out what BLE tags are, how they work and what benefits they offer in real-world asset location tracking situations.

What is BLE asset tracking?

Asset tracking with BLE uses a combination of tracker tags and beacons to create a short-range network of interconnected devices. One of the major advantages of BLE is that, when used in a smaller area like a building, it can be very accurate.

Location IconCompared to larger-scale tracking technologies like Global Positioning Systems (GPS), which provides a general location across a large area, BLE can be accurate by up to one meter, within its field of range. This is useful for tracking and locating small items like medical equipment or warehouse machines, which are always going to be in the building — it’s just a question of exactly where in the building.

Unlike a classic Bluetooth® device, BLE is purposely designed to only emit short “ping” signals when required. This makes it a very efficient method of asset tracking. Tags can last long periods of time without charging or replacing batteries. Additionally, the processing power needed is minimal because the devices are only active when called on, as opposed to GPS, which remains continually operational.

How BLE Tags Work

Asset tracking with BLE technology is incredibly simple to set up, given the right equipment. Bluetooth® doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi or other network infrastructures to determine location — it simply needs another Bluetooth-enabled device whose location is known. The devices use Bluetooth® signal “pings” to tell one another where they are in relation to beacon anchor points with known location.

sofia-components-768x590Tracking assets using BLE requires each item to be fitted with a BLE tag, which communicates with other tags and beacons to give accurate location information based on their relative positions to one another. An asset tracking application takes the compiled data from each tag and the signal strength of surrounding devices to provide accurate indoor positioning information. This form of active RFID allows each BLE device to transmit specific information for easy identification.

Using BLE tags: Real-world solutions

Using BLE tags for indoor positioning can benefit many organizations in a range of fields. Here are some great examples of different industry uses for BLE asset tracking:

Hospitals can use BLE for monitoring medical devices and supplies, helping doctors and other staff to find them easily and manage them properly. Accurately tracking medical devices and supplies in real time improves asset utilization and increases cost-efficiency. Wearable tags can also be used to monitor patients and improve staff safety in cases of emergency incidents.

Logistics companies need to keep track of the movements of multiple large shipments within warehouses and depots. BLE tracking can expedite the logistics process and reduce the risk of errors, using tags and software to monitor the parcels and from receipt to delivery.

Manufacturers use BLE asset tracking to optimize production lines and logistics, allowing them to actively track goods, increase workplace safety and improve efficiency by tracking all kinds of movements.

The IT industry implements asset tracking with BLE to gain insights into the usage and movements of all IT assets and equipment, so they can be managed and utilized better. A Bluetooth® beacon can be used in conjunction with employees’ smartphones and workstations to track asset locations and operations.

BLE Asset Tracking with AiRISTA

Our expertise in RTLS solutions means that we have a lot of experience implementing BLE sensor and beacon infrastructures for organizations wanting to enhance operations with real time location services. Using tags like the A1 Asset Tag, our solutions help organizations track and locate assets with innovative BLE indoor positioning technologies.

To find out more about how AiRISTA can help you monitor assets to improve efficiency, book a free demo today.

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