The Differences between RFID and RTLS in Tracking

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Nancy   2017/12/20

The real-time location of employees, machines and materials becomes more and more important in health-care industries and manufacturing. Thereby, some people hear that RFID and RTLS can be used interchangeably. But it is a mistake. Both RFID and RTLS can help identify special location, however, there are many differences between these two technologies.

Real-time location systems (RTLS) is more suitable for the industries that look for location cover the whole world. Using RTLS technology to find out the accurate location of any material in devices. This system works by combining GPS and Bluetooth technology so as to track and monitor the objects as well as interact when they ocour. Bluetooth findable device must be registered to the system to ensure RTLS work normally. Sensor which are installed in given environment works by acquiring accurate location on sepcific Bluetooth device. RFID technology supplys an around location rather than accurate location.

There are two parts on RTLS. One is Bluetooth inside location system, it can track object and people. The other one is GPS outside location sysrem. The system will change to GPS track the object that can’t track it by Bluetooth. RTLS automatically identifies the object and track its location on a real time basis. Besides, RTLS can track the movement of the object, when it is supported by a computer application.

There are two parts on RFID too. RFID transmits data by using electromagnetic field. Signal is replaced between two different devices to identify the location of people or object. Active and passive are two typies on RFID technology. Passive RFID provides point-in-time location, in presence of professional RFID readers. Active RFID sends out signals to a professional reader in constant intervals which is then utilized by professional software solutions to look for the location of the tagged target. Thus, RFID technology is not always suitable for tracking in real time.

The various components of RTLS include Bluetooth, WiFi, ultrasound, ultra-wideband (UWB), ZigBee, second-generation infrared and legacy infrared. Some of these components offer the around location of people or object by using triangulation software.

One problem with using RFID is that radio frequency signals cannot penetrate through floors, walls or ceilings. However, infrared can be combined with active RFID so that the signals can penetrate through walls and other obstacles.

Ultrasound does not perform as well as the other options when it relates to a communication mechanism, because its transmission is slower than infrared. WiFi is distinctly the preferred technology used in the majority of locations, but the range of its accuracy is limited to only 30 feet. It also limits its popularity when it tracks the locations of objects or people.

Whatever, both RFID and RTLS technologies are great security solutions to aid in tracking the locations of people and objects.

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