Reading Internet posts and talking with people I  decided to write a few lines on the RTLS because I think there is a little bit of confusion about. For example, I just finished reading an article stating in this way “For all practical purposes the RTLS is a variant of the RFID“!

No …c’mon a “variant of the RFID” ?:

RFID: Radio Frequency Identification

it is a system that, without contact and through the use of radio waves is capable to transferring information from one device, normally called “tags” and a “reading system”. Some “tag” are “active” and this means that it require a battery to energize his memory and the transmission system, other “tags” are “passive”, they do not require batteries and take the necessary energy to activate themselves from a magnetic field induced by the readers antennas. Some “tag” can be rewritten many times during normal use and thus serve as a dynamic memory directly linked to an object. Depending on the technology “tags” RFID can be read from a few centimeters to a few meters even (in 255 HEC srl we reached 7 meters!).

RTLS: Real Time Location System (Real Time Locating System)

it’s a localization system that allows you to determine the “geographical” coordinates for an object in real time. Normally, these systems do not determinate the speed or direction or spatial orientation of the object … in these cases it is preferred to speak about “navigation systems” or “position system”.

Putting a “tag” on an object you can determine its location with special antennas and readers, through the wireless signal that the “tag” emits.

While it is true that the term RTLS has been coined to identify a location system that used active RFID, RTLS it today expanded its meaning to any system that can provide a spatial position of predefined objects.

The technologies used to create a RTLS system can be different: Active RFID, passive RFID, ultrasound, infrared, bluetooth, wifi … and others. For example, if well designed, WiFi 801.11 and a RTLS system can indicate the position of any device (computer, phone etc etc) connected to the network,  and track the path of each people with these instruments!

RTLS is a “fresh” technology that has yet to be “discovered” in the industrial field. Real cases in which RTLS is applied have shown a real good ROI (in the next post I will give you more information.) It is an advanced technology that few companies know at the time, and the result may or may not be achieved depending on the quality of the project.

255 HEC srl is already design since time RTLS with passive RFID … to keep up, to stay one step forward :-).
At this moment we are developing a real large-scale industrial project, one of the few in Italy in his sector…  We’ll keep you up to date with this new system!
I personally believe that RTLS system will increase its presence in the world of logistics, tracking and traceability changing the future way of designing automated warehouses and traditional warehouses.

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