Building Smarter Indoor and Outdoor RTLS Solutions with the Oyster Edge
Learn how GeoTracker is simplifying and supplementing real-time location systems with the Oyster Edge Indoor and Outdoor battery-powered asset tracking device, Bluetooth® Low Energy, and custom mapping solutions.
RTLS Technologies in Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Logistics
Real-time locating systems (RTLS) are used to automatically identify and track the location of assets in real-time.
With many different RTLS technologies available, such as RFID, Ultra-Wide Band (UWB), Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi, and more, most of the barriers to the deployment of RTLS according to ABI Research point to the fragmentation of existing solutions, which impacts the total cost of ownership, implementation complexity, technology management, and uncertainties around reliability and maturity levels.
“Working with clients across healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics, we realized many existing RTLS solutions are inaccessible,” says Ravi Tolani, Co-Founder of GeoTracker. “If you look at the market today, there are too many technology options, RTLS can take a long to set up, and it can get very expensive.”
Additionally, many existing RTLS solutions are designed for indoor location tracking only; if a tagged asset leaves the building or indoor vicinity, it can no longer be tracked.
“Transiting from indoor to outdoor has also been a big challenge in the industry,” says Tolani. “If you’re tracking your pallets in a factory or wheelchairs in a hospital and they transition outdoors or across locations, you’re going to lose sight of that asset.”
Utilizing the Oyster Edge, GeoTracker is simplifying and supplementing existing real-time location systems by offering a full Indoor-to-Outdoor asset tracking and management solution.
Building a Smarter RTLS Solution with the Oyster Edge
The Oyster Edge is a Cellular LTE-M/NB-IoT battery-powered Indoor/Outdoor asset tracking device and Bluetooth Low Energy Gateway. The ultra-rugged IP67 enclosure is waterproof and dust-resistant which enables the device to be deployed in harsh conditions.
Installed on assets such as critical medical equipment, hospital beds, wheelchairs, pallets, and more, the Oyster Edge combines GNSS (GPS, BeiDou), Cell Tower Location, and Wi-Fi scanning for a full indoor-to-outdoor location tracking solution.
Additionally, the Oyster Edge also functions as a mobile Bluetooth Low Energy Gateway and can collect and transmit data from many third-party Bluetooth tags, sensors, and accessories once integrated.
Custom maps are loaded into the GeoTracker platform.
Custom mapping example in GeoTracker IoT Platform
A Bluetooth tag is then mounted in each room of the indoor environment for room and floor-level location tracking.
“The Bluetooth tags we utilize have a range of approximately 100 feet (30 m) and are much more affordable than deploying some other RTLS gateways,” says Tolani. “Each room in the location only requires one Bluetooth Tag.”
Featuring smarter movement-based tracking, when the Oyster Edge moves, it triggers a location scan while sniffing for nearby Bluetooth IDs. The data is transmitted to the GeoTracker platform where the asset’s room-level position is then calculated based on the location scan in addition to the proximity of the specific Bluetooth IDs.
Smart filtering techniques on the Oyster Edge allow the device to detect specific Bluetooth accessories more efficiently, reducing cellular data usage and simplifying the integration overhead of needing to filter out unwanted tags on the end platform.
If the asset leaves the vicinity completely, GNSS on the Oyster Edge enables a full outdoor tracking solution.
“Many assets in hospitals, warehouses, and factories don’t remain indoors all of the time,” says Tolani. “Not only are we able to provide room and floor-level indoor position accuracy, but we can also continue to track the asset if it is removed from the building, transitioned between locations, misplaced, or stolen.”
With geofencing support, the GeoTracker platform also alerts users if an asset has left not only the building but the surrounding location to aid in recovery.
With a range of Intelligent Power Management features including cloud-based location solving, the Oyster Edge can operate between 1 and 10 years before requiring a battery change, depending on how the device is configured and how often the asset is moving. The Oyster Edge uses AA batteries which can be easily swapped in the field.
“Long battery life is obviously imperative for this type of application,” says Tolani. “It’s not going to make commercial sense if we must swap out the batteries every few weeks, or even months. Low battery alerts on the Oyster Edge also ensure we are changing batteries before any data is lost.”
Improving Efficiency and Cutting Costs with RTLS Technologies
More than “one-third of nurses spend at least an hour finding items of equipment during an average hospital shift,” according to a survey by Nursing Times.
In addition to reducing the amount of time it takes searching for equipment, GeoTracker’s RTLS solution enhances safety and security, improves operations efficiency, streamlines regulatory compliance, and reduces capital expenditure (CAPEX).
RTLS technology can also contribute to higher patient care and satisfaction levels by showing the real-time locations of critical tagged mobile medical equipment.
“We are making RTLS and asset tracking more approachable for businesses of all sizes,” says Tolani. “The addition of seamless indoor-to-outdoor location tracking also enhances existing solutions on the market.”
To learn more about GeoTracker’s RTLS solutions visit www.geotracker.app.