Digital asset tracking has been transforming the business world providing real-time visibility on physical assets in all types of industries and environments with RTLS (or Remote Tracking Location Systems) being just one of the technologies being used to monitor, track and manage assets.
In this quick start guide, we take a look at what’s different about RTLS, when and where should it be used and key questions to ask when considering implementing an RTLS system for asset tracking.
What is RTLS ?
“RTLS – Not an individual technology or tag – but a system that delivers a set tracking goal.”
Remote Tracking Location Systems (RTLS) is a comprehensive solution designed to provide real-time location information and status updates for assets, people, and equipment. At its core, RTLS leverages a combination of advanced technologies, including GPS, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification), Wi-Fi, UWB (Ultra-Wideband), and Bluetooth, to pinpoint the precise location of objects within a designated area. This location data then allows different users to monitor and manage assets with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency.
RTLS in Action – 7 Business Examples
A wide range of business, healthcare and industrial sectors have been benefiting from the use of RTLS, here are some examples.
In healthcare settings, RTLS helps track the location of patients, medical equipment, waste and staff with the goal of enhancing patient safety, improving workflows, and reducing the risk of lost or misplaced assets.
- Research and Administration
In these environments, boxes, folders and single files carry valuable IP and each one can be critical to the outcome of a study and the funding that supports it. RTLS ensures no file gets mislaid by actively tracking and locating any file and who it’s with in real-time.
- Manufacturing and Logistics
Manufacturing plants and warehouses use RTLS to monitor the movement and status of goods and materials, maximise management of space, resources, service delivery and operational efficiency.
Retailers can deploy RTLS to monitor customer footfall, enhance inventory management and improve, supply chain, logistics management or customer experience.
RTLS helps airports and airlines manage operations and security when used for baggage tracking, aircraft maintenance, and passenger management.
RTLS is used in construction to track heavy machinery, tools materials and compliance. This ensures proper resource allocation and reduces the likelihood of theft or misplacement.
Schools and universities use RTLS to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff, as well as to manage campus assets effectively.
Key Features of RTLS Asset Tracking
RTLS is more than a simple check-in and check-out or inspection system. Here are some of the key features that comprise RTLS tracking.
- Tracking for Specific Areas
Unlike GPS systems that offer live global coverage, RTLS is a localised tracking solution implemented in locations such as buildings, warehouses, or healthcare facilities.
- Real-Time Location Data
RTLS provides immediate location updates, enabling users to track assets accurately as they move through a designated area as it happens. This can then be displayed visually or reported on as required.
Where standard asset tracking systems will utilise people to check assets in and out and update their status with a handheld device, RTLS will involve the installation of tracking hardware such as wifi antennae or bluetooth beacons to log the movements of assets around designated areas.
- Customised Alerts:
Users can set up notifications based on specific criteria, such as asset movement, arrival or departure from a designated restricted zone or set off timers that signal when items are needing attention or manual intervention..
- Historical Data Analysis & Reporting
RTLS systems often come equipped with the capability to store historical location data, allowing businesses to analyse trends, who has handled the assets and time taken between various stages.
RTLS solution providers should also be able to share data with other existing tools and systems in your business and be accessible from a range of devices from desktops to handheld scanners and smart devices.
Key Questions to Ask When Considering RTLS
It is likely you will need the assistance of an experienced asset tracking consultant to set up RTLS for tracking your assets. Here are some key questions to ask to help you define the needs of your asset tracking solution.
- What are your specific tracking needs? Clearly define the assets or items you need to track and monitor.
- What’s your budget? Determine how much you’re willing to invest in an RTLS solution, as you will need to factor in both hardware and software costs.
- What level of accuracy and automation do you need operationally? The level of reporting accuracy, changing status or movement of items and use of labour resources will influence the choice of RTLS technology.
- Is the environment suitable for RTLS? Assess your buildings’ physical layout and environmental factors to ensure compatibility and ease of tracking.
- What are your integration and reporting requirements? What do you need to know and report on and when. You will need to factor in existing software systems and identify if you need to integrate them for workflows and reporting.
- How will you handle data security and privacy? Understand how the RTLS solution handles any sensitive or personnel data and what measures are in place to protect privacy.
- What is the scalability potential? It’s likely that your RTLS solution will be bespoke. If anything changes in your business you need to ensure that the system that is developed for you will be future-proofed as much as possible to enable it to grow with your business and adapt to changing needs without costing you an arm and a leg.
Remote Tracking Location Systems (RTLS) have changed from a new technology to one that is well used by many organisations looking to optimise and implement more automation for their asset management, tracking and operational efficiency.
By first understanding your circumstances and set up and carefully defining your requirements, as a business you’ll be able to leverage the full potential of RTLS and gain huge improvements in operational efficiency, data and budget management.
Assettrac are experts in asset tracking and experienced solutions providers we can help you define those requirements, recommend and provide the technology and solution needed and help you implement these. We would work together to optimise operations whatever the scale.
We’d be pleased to discuss any circumstances, provide our knowledge and experience and help you make progress in this area.
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