A real-time location system (RTLS) is based on the technology that detects the current geolocation of a target, which may be anything from a vehicle to an item in a manufacturing plant to a person. RTLS-capable products are used in an ever-increasing number of sectors including supply chain management (SCM), health care, the military, retail, recreation, and postal and courier services.
RTLS applications include:
- Fleet tracking: Fleet-tracking RTLS systems make it possible for an enterprise to track vehicle location and speed, optimize routes, schedule jobs, aid navigation and analyse driver efficiency.
- Navigation: The most basic navigation services provide directions for how to get from Point A to Point B. Incorporating GPS, mapping and mobile cellular technology will enable more complex navigation services.
- Inventory and asset tracking: RFID technologies are widely used for asset and inventory tracking. RFID tags communicate wirelessly with RFID readers throughout the enterprise. It also helps record the utilisation time as well as the number of times the asset was used for a purpose.
- Personnel tracking: Different technologies are used for on-site personnel and workers in the field. Systems that track field workers are typically GPS-enabled mobile phones. On-site personnel tracking systems often use RFID technology, such as RFID-enabled badges.
- Network security: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) can limit the physical area from which a user can connect to restrict access based on the user’s location.
Vertical wise applications of RTLS:
- It can be used to quickly locate healthcare staff in large facilities when a patient or other member of staff summons assistance during a medical emergency.
- It can be deployed to track the physical movement of staff to help ensure their safety. e.g., when a staff needs assistance in a panic situation he / she can send an immediate alert using the tag and the nearest staff member can rush to the location.
- It can also be deployed to track the physical movement of patients to help ensure their safety, particularly in the case of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. An RTLS can alert staff and pinpoint the location of a resident who wanders away from a pre-defined area or tries to leave the building, e.g., when a patient passes too close to hazardous area or an entrance or an exit.
- Tracking expensive or shared equipment, such as ICU ventilators, defibrillators, blood pressure monitors, wheelchairs and intravenous (IV) pumps, can save time and money, and reduce equipment theft and accidental loss. Hospitals are often large institutions, and personnel often find it difficult to locate portable equipment when it is required. Because personnel find it difficult to locate portable equipment when they need it, they sometimes “hide” (or “hoard”) it, so that they may find it when required; a practice which increases the severity of the problem.
- Maintenance cycle – Healthcare units are often challenged by assets that can’t be found when needed or don’t work when they should due to lack of maintenance. With RTLS, you have complete control on where the asset is lying and whether it has been maintained or not. With equipment being maintained regularly, the organisation has an insight on whether or not the existing equipment is being fully utilised and whether any new equipment is to be ordered. This leads to increased equipment utilization
- Ambulance Auditing & Asset Tracking – 24/7 protection and location of ambulance assets, including the vehicles themselves to ensure that the fleet is always properly equipped for optimum call response. Continuously scan, track, and report ambulance assets together with their location and status. Each vehicle’s inventory is transmitted over a GSM network, together with the vehicle’s physical location. Assets can be tracked in numerous ways, including maintenance and calibration status. Inadequately stocked ambulances are instantly flagged. Also, a staff list for each ambulance is generated that brings real-time reporting at the fingertips.
You can therefore:
- Make sure the ambulances have the full spectrum of emergency equipment available and in optimum condition to effectively respond to crisis situations.
- Prevent asset loss and theft
- Automate equipment check-in and checkout
- Deliver accountability of asset life span within the organization
- Keep maintenance history of ambulance equipment
- Protect your high value mobile assets and take ambulance asset tracking to a whole new level.
- Infant Protection – RTLS tags help prevent infant mix-ups and kidnappings. The solution pairs infants with mothers by utilizing a mother tag and an infant tag, ensuring the prevention of mix-ups and kidnappings, monitoring infant activity and movement, and keeping track of prolonged inactivity. Thus, every family that walks out of the hospital satisfied
- Hand Hygiene Compliance – Hospital studies have shown that noncompliance with hand hygiene practices is directly linked with infections and can been a major contributor to outbreaks. The food services industry also requires that both their kitchen and serving staff maintain proper hand hygiene. With a RTLS based hand hygiene compliance solution in place, staff members’ badges identify personnel in proximity of a handwashing station. A subsequent verification of the usage of the soap dispenser within allotted time confirms the “compliant status” for the same staff member. Compliance tracking readers relay this time-critical hand hygiene data for evaluation, processing, recording and compliance reporting. Reports may be used to trace and report potential sources of viruses or infection transfers to possibly reduce spread. It also alerts the staff of their non-compliant status and provides opportunity for corrective action prior to providing care
- Clinical Operations Workflow – RTLS helps determine where a patient, asset or staff member is located, with 100% certainty. It helps improve equipment utilization, integrating with existing applications such as Nurse Call, to streamline workflow in critical departments. It helps automate the recording and analysis of operational data such as room turnover time, medical services taking place (lab work, imaging, etc.) and other clinical milestones. Powerful analytics help clinics understand key performance measures and identify ways to optimize workflow and improve patient experience, including utilization rates, wait times, patient milestones and more.
- Environment Monitoring – RTLS helps track where assets are located as well as their condition. It helps easily monitor items that require strict, temperature-controlled conditions. Often the most expensive assets of a hospital require precise standards with regards to temperature, pressure and humidity. Hospitals can ensure their critical assets are in the right environment, preventing costly replacements and improving their bottom lines. Receive alerts when measurements are sensed above or below set parameters. The staff gets instant alerts when measurements are sensed above or below set parameters, so they can take immediate action to resolve the issue.
- Tracking: A shop floor has 40 new forklifts and the Manager would like to know if they are really making use of them. With RTLS, all he has to do is take a look at the tracking statistics to find out. As the data can be accessed quickly, improvements to the business processes can be quickly implemented, which enables improved asset utilization and cost optimization.
- Access Control: RTLS helps clients keep an eye on the equipment, trolleys or employees and establish software zones. These software zones are not physically visible, but if a person enters them, the program automatically registers and tracks their movements. Security can also be bolstered and the risk of workplace accidents lowered by accurately predicting real-time asset and staff collisions.
- Correct parts from the Warehouse: RTLS ensures no wastage of time or money again. The system makes sure that your warehouse staff collect the correct parts necessary for production in the shortest time possible. Thus no more missing out the correct parts on the production line. Minimal downtime at the workplace.
The system sends information to the workers about the quantity and parts that they need to collect and prepare. Meanwhile, the systems navigates the workers to the correct deposit location, which saves time that could be spent searching for the right place.
- Understand customer behaviour – Large stores can gain unique data about their customers by installing a receiver into every shopping cart. Once the customer steps into a software zone, the system registers him and tracks his movements in real time.
- Optimization of daily operations – RTLS can help large stores with better work organization. For example, if the manager wishes to know the amount of time it takes to unload a truck full of pears, he can set up a one-time software zone and see in real-time how long the process takes. That way, he is able to say how many workers and how much time will be assigned to fulfill this task in the future.
- Marketing campaigns made more effective – RTLS can provide large stores with a rich analysis of their marketing activities. The retailer can, for example, find out if the customers took interest in a promotional counter offering them a free sample of butter. He can also see the path the customers took to get to the promotional counter and the time they spent there.
RTLS solutions allow mining, oil & gas companies to:
- Accurately locate and track assets, tools, equipment, materials and people in real-time across dispersed remote locations.
- Defining virtual danger zones on drill sites and instantaneously alert employees to potential safety risk.
- Provide end-to-end logistics to streamline processes and increase efficiency – from the materials manufacturer to the drill site.
- Resorts and hotels can be a confusing maze for its visitors. A simple application in their mobile phones can, however, navigate them to accommodation, to restaurants, parking lots or other services in the resorts.
- Deployment of RTLS opens broad options of data collection. It provides hotel operators with the possibility to locate selected commodities, for example golf carts.
- At the same time, RTLS proves valuable in monitoring serving staff at events organised in hotels. Supervisors not only know, in real time, where each waiter is located but, in the history, it is possible to precisely determine utilisation of different employees and, based on that, adjust their assessment or reduce their workload. Thus, management of the hotel resort also receives information about the use of different services, demand for attractions and, based on that, it can improve the offer of services to clients.
- Connecting all services to the mobile application together with booking and payment options can present the hotel resort to its customers as a modern facility with advanced care.