• Connected Development

4 IoT Solutions to Enhance Indoor Asset Tracking

Asset tracking refers to the management of an organization’s physical assets. In indoor environments, IoT-enabled methods of asset tracking are essential tools to enhance the management of assets like medical equipment, patient tracking, telematics, industrial equipment, and product tracking in manufacturing and distribution facilities. Indoor asset management through IoT technology saves money, improves efficiency, and is an ideal solution to provide organizations with real-time actionable insights.


The Demand for Indoor Asset Tracking Devices:

Demand for indoor tracking solutions has steadily increased as industries have shifted their focus to digitization within supply chains. A Markets and Markets report predicts that “The global Indoor Location Market size to grow from USD 7.0 billion in 2021 to USD 19.7 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.9%”


Developing an IoT-Enabled Asset Tracking Solution:

When selecting the ideal IoT technology to develop your indoor asset tracking solution, developers should consider:

· The number and type of physical assets that need to be tracked

· Maintenance schedules

· Equipment uptime/downtime

· Worker interaction with tracked physical assets (fleet operators, nurses, doctors, patients, etc.)

· Desired accuracy of physical asset tracking location

· Update rates for assets monitored

· Environment of assets monitored

· Size of asset tracking area

Relying on interconnectivity between users, sensors, devices, and equipment to transmit and receive data, IoT-enabled asset management solutions provide organizations with opportunities for increased intelligence and automation through real-time alerts, enhanced analytics and data insights, predictive maintenance, automatic reporting, and more. Here are four popular IoT technologies that developers can use to create comprehensive indoor tracking solutions:


LoRa™:

Developed with M2M and IoT in mind, LoRa™ enables long-range tracking applications. As a type of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN), LoRa technology offers enhanced indoor transmission, extended battery life, and is a cost-effective method of connectivity. LoRa network ranges have the ability to span a small warehouse to an entire city. Supporting 902 to 928 MHz in North America, LoRa’s ideal coverage range reaches 5 km in urban areas and 15 km in less dense environments. While LoRa boasts long-range and cost-friendly infrastructure, the overall network size may be limited by its duty cycle – the regulation of time in which a channel can be occupied. Additionally, LoRa is not an ideal solution for applications requiring low latency or bounded jitter requirements. Another limitation of LoRa technology is its bandwidth. LoRa is ideally suited for short, periodical transmissions as its bandwidth is restricted to 32 kbit/s.


Ultra-Wide Band (UWB):

Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) is a scalable, high-frequency technology solution for indoor real-time location services (RTLS). Providing an accuracy range from around 1 m to 10 cm, UWB-enabled asset tracking systems are ideal for sensitive environments like hospitals as UWB’s inherent low power level (0.5 mW / -41.3 dBm/MHz) and high bandwidth operation (>500 MHz) is effectively immune to interference from transmissions operating in the same frequency. In comparison to other connectivity technologies, UWB tags can be expensive to purchase and implement. UWB is also limited by its low data transmission rate – UWB is not suited for streaming large amounts of data.


Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons:

Beacons are a popular connectivity method of indoor asset tracking solutions. The global beacon market is expected to be valued at $14,839 million by 2024. Beacon technology refers to the use of beacons affixed to physical assets that transmit data wirelessly through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to nearby mobile devices.

BLE beacons are flexible tracking solutions that provide enhanced transmission at very low power levels. With the ability to run years on simple coin cell batteries, BLE beacons are cost-effective and are common indoor asset management solutions in retail and industrial environments. However, one drawback surrounding BLE beacons is coverage. BLE beacon technology is limited by the transmission range of BLE (Bluetooth 5 LE has a transmission range of up to 400 m), so BLE beaconing may not be ideal for expansive indoor facilities.


WirePas Mesh (2.4 GHz):

One company developing next-generation technology for indoor tracking solutions is WirePas. WirePas’ Mesh 2.4 GHz profile enables enhanced IoT networking on 2.4 GHz spectrum. Soon to deploy WirePas 5G Mesh, WirePas Mesh networking supports low-power and low-latency use cases. Boasting affordable, reliable, and high-density performance, WirePas Mesh technology provides a decentralized infrastructure superior to cellular. Any node within a private WirePas network can become its own router at any time. Nodes within a network are intelligent and have the ability to self-organize and dynamically change roles. Their largest deployed network consists of 920,000 devices in a single mesh network. Additionally, WirePas networking supports a multi-kilometer range and supports Mesh Sub-GHz for indoor/ deep indoor applications.


Still unsure which connectivity method is an ideal connectivity method for your indoor asset tracking solution? Consult with our experts at Connected Development to develop an indoor asset tracking solution of your own.


Resources:

Things You Should Know About Bluetooth Range

What’s the Advantages and Disadvantage of Bluetooth Beacon/Tag?

UWB: Pros and Cons of Ultra-Wideband Technology

LoRa | Advantages of LoRaWAN | Disadvantages of LoRaWAN

How the Wirepas connectivity works

A new global 5G standard in IoT

Is LoRa the game-changer for IoT?



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