Today everyone uses their mobile phones to navigate wherever they want to go. However, the GPS technology is only working outdoors when it can make contact with GPS satellites. If you drive into a tunnel or in an underground parking garage it can't 'see' the GPS satellites anymore. In order to locate an object inside a building we need to have another positioning system in that building.
An upcoming and powerful technology for an indoor positioning system is called Ultra Wide Band (UWB). With an UWB-system it is possible to locate objects in buildings even more accurately than the GPS-system does outdoors. Within complex buildings with several floors and rooms it is possible to track objects in real-time.
We will show you 3 use cases for the application of an indoor positioning system:
- Asset Management
- People Tracking
- Trade Fairs & Events
1. Asset management
Within industrial areas such as factories and warehouses a lot of goods and equipment move within the building. Currently those assets are often tracked by scanning bar codes. However, this is limited and the location of those objects is not accurate. When using a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) all assets within a factory can be tracked in real-time and also much more accurate. Now you know exactly where your pallets are, where your forklifts are and you can analyze this data.
Benefits of using an RTLS system for asset management:
- Improve logistics process and supply chain
- Minimize inventory costs
- Smarter routing and activity tracking, e.g. forklifts
- Track flow and history of assets
- Ability to optimize your process based on real data
- All data from an RTLS can be accessed anywhere through a web portal
2. People tracking
Real-Time Location Systems play a big role when speaking about security and safety. For some industries it is important to track personnel for accountability or their own safety, for example in the mining and oil & gas industries. It is possible to identify where someone has been and rise an alarm when there is suspicious behavior. For example, when someone has a static position or enters a forbidden area.
With RTLS and geo-fencing it is also possible to control and restrict access for assets and people to certain areas. In real-time you can have a visual overview of all personnel within the company. This is possible because the technology is small and wearable.
Benefits of using an indoor positioning system for people tracking:
- Better theft protection of assets
- Track compliance and protocol assurance
- Improve worker safety with geo-fences, avoid accidents
- Better worker accountability, track suspicious behavior
- Man down detection, through a combination of movement sensors and RTLS
3. Trade Fairs & Events
A trade fair is the ideal place to get an overview of an entire market and industry. A lot of visitors and exhibitors meet each other in just a few days. When those visitors can be tracked by their badge it is possible to gain valuable data for the organizers, the exhibitors and the visitors themselves.
When the position of the visitors can be tracked, the exhibitors know exactly who visited them and how long. For the organizers of the event it gives them an insight which areas of the hall draw more traffic than others, so they can generate a heat map and match the prices for exhibitors accordingly. The visitors can also track where they have been, and check later on their mobile app the companies they have visited.
Benefits of using an indoor positioning system on trade fairs:
- Indoor positioning with navigation in the hall
- Location based marketing
- Analyze visitor traffic to optimize traffic flow
- Provide visitors with a list of exhibitors they have visited
- Optimize booth position and market floor space based on traffic
- Provide exhibitors a list of visitors and the duration of their visit
Indoor navigation can be used in many use cases. The examples above give an idea how the technology can be used, but there are many other scenarios where it would be beneficial to implement an indoor positioning system. The technology can also be combined with other sensors, actuators and wireless connectivity creating lots of new possibilities to innovate.
If you have questions about this blog article, or if we can help you in any other way, please feel free to contact us.