Transform your Operations
Accurate, high-speed stock counting, tracking, and tracing to improve stock replenishment, while reducing unnecessary manual counting, shrinkage, and high safety stock levels costs.
WHAT IS BLE
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is based on Bluetooth, was released in 2010, and is also referred to as "Bluetooth Smart". It is an active, radio-frequency technology for wireless communication that can be leveraged to detect and track the live location of people, items, and assets for many indoor positioning use cases. Additionally, it can also be used to track the direction of movement in real-time.
HOW DOES IT WORK
1. Detecting live locations
BLE operates best between 0 - 25m but can operate up to 100m. The release of Bluetooth 5.1, and its new direction-finding features, have made it possible for BLE to determine location with accuracy at the sub-meter level. This is due to the new ability to calculate the direction of a Bluetooth power signal via Angle of Arrival (AoA), which is used along with detected signal strength (RSSI) to determine and track the location of devices and assets and deliver enhanced precision.
2. Detecting real-time direction of movement
To be able to find direction, a mobile BLE-transmitting item, such as a tag or beacon with a single antenna, transmits to a fixed-position BLE gateway with a multi-antenna array. The phase shift of the multiple antennas, as a result of receiving the signal, is measured to determine the angle of approach of the transmitting mobile tag or beacon. Combined with RSSI, the AoA is used to generate device coordinates to <1m accuracy, together with direction of movement.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSIDER BLE
If you have a requirement to monitor and track the real-time position and movement of indoor items to within 1m accuracy, such as high-value assets and tools, people, job trays, and vehicles, then you should consider investing in BLE technology.
Also see: Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) Technology
smaRTE Solutions using BLE:
Real-time and accurate tracking, tracing and monitoring of the health of your key operational assets to optimise asset utilisation, maximise uptime and reliability, which ultimately also maximises your asset investment.
Examples of operational applications for BLE technology:
Job Tracking in Manufacturing or Assembly - Attaching BLE tags to job trays as they move through a production or assembly line in manufacturing.
Valuable Item Tracking in Smart Buildings/Cities - Tracking high-value items (eg. boxes of diamonds, valuable artwork etc) within an operational environment or smart building/city environment to optimise production and/or reduce risk.
Indoor Vehicle Tracking in automotive - Real-time tracking and stock counting of vehicles in a vehicle sales warehouse or truck yard.
People Tracking for Health & Safety in Smart Buildings/Cities - Ensuring all people are accounted for during an evacuation or quickly locating an injured staff member during an emergency when the panic button on a BLE tag is pressed.
What is RFID technology used for?Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) is a multi-purpose technology. It is the most cost-effective way to electronically identify, count and track items that your organisation values. RFID is used in many different industries to save time, increase productivity and decrease costs. It has been quite widely adopted in industries like retail, manufacturing and assembly, warehousing and logistics, automotive, mining, construction, and healthcare.
Where is RFID used in daily life?Stock Management in Retail RFID labels can be found on the items purchased from many market-leading retail stores. The Foschini Group in south Africa use RFID to perform high-speed inventory counts (up to 300 items per second). RFID helped them to increase their inventory accuracy to 99%. Many retailers use RFID to optimise their inventory management, as well as to track and trace their inventory as it moves through their supply chain. Watch these videos below from our global partner to find out more: Access Control in Buildings and Facilities RFID technology is incorporated in most modern access control cards. These RFID-enabled cards provide unique identification of people when entering or exiting sites and buildings. Financial Transactions using Debit & Credit Cards Debit and credit cards use a version of RFID technology called Near-Field Communication (NFC). This technology makes it quick and easy to authorise transactions by tapping the card on a mobile payment device instead of inserting the card and entering the PIN. Identifying and Tracking Staff, Patients, Equipment, and Consumables Many modern hospitals use RFID to track nurses, patients, equipment, supplies and medication. RFID technology helps hospitals to transform the way they manage the hospital and care for patients. Identifying and Tracking parts in Vehicles Automotive part suppliers and manufacturers use RFID to track parts, work in progress (WIP), and tools as they move through the value chain. RFID technology helps the automotive industry to reduce costs, save time and work smarter. Improving the Management and Security of Keys in Car Dealerships Many car dealerships and car service businesses use specialised key cabinets or key rooms to control the access to keys. These keys have RFID fobs attached to them to provide unique identification of each key. See our smaRTE Keys solution for more information, or watch the video below:
What does passive vs. active RFID mean?Passive RFID Passive RFID tags have no batteries. This means that the RFID reader temporarily energises the RFID tag through the electromagnetic field that it emanates, just enough for the tag to transmit its globally unique “Electronic Product Code” (EPC) that identifies the tag and the item that it is attached to. Active RFID Active RFID tags have built-in batteries and an internal transmitter in the form of a beacon or transponder. This means that an active RFID tag can transmit signals to an RFID reader over longer ranges – sometimes up to 150 metres. Active RFID tags can be used for real-time tracking and tracing as items move.
Is RFID anti-theft?An RFID anti-theft system can be used to detect tagged items that pass through an entrance, verify if those items have been purchased and trigger an acoustic and/or visual alarm if any item has not been purchased. As an optional extra, RFID loss prevention hardware can be connected to a cloud software application. The products that trigger an alarm can then be shown on a smartphone, managed by store or security staff to alert and register events such as false alarms, thwarted theft, and theft. For more information, watch this video from one of our global RFID partners:
What are the benefits of RFID?Below are some examples of the operational benefits of employing RFID into your environment: High-speed, accurate inventory counts (up to 300 items per second, 99% accuracy). Can detect and find “hidden” objects. Quick variance resolution. Lower Inventory Levels. Free up valuable working capital. Improve sales & customer service. Optimised stock turn. Lower shrinkage. Count inventory as often as required. Intelligent asset management. More in-depth, real-time management information. Increased Return-on-operating-Assets (RooA) and profitability as a result.