There have arrived many techniques and technologies for asset tracking have arrived like Barcode, QR code, RFID, NFC, with the latest trending being IoT and Bluetooth Low Technology (BLE beacons).
These asset tracking technologies have grown well with adoption and so have the demands of customers to explore for the best solution with real-time information whenever an item, asset, or equipment is on track.
What is Bluetooth Low Energy?
According to Wikipedia, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), or Bluetooth Smart, is a wireless personal area network technology designed to provide reduced power consumption and cost as compared with Classic Bluetooth even while maintaining a similar communication range.
Specificity of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
- Low Power Wireless Technology
- Especially for Short-range Communication
- Allows Devices to Communicate with each other
- Ideal for situations where battery life is favoured over data transfer speed
- Almost all smartphones and tablets are BLE-compatible
- Used for sensor data, control of devices, and low bandwidth applications
- BLE makes the gadgets smarter by promising them compact, affordable and least complexity
Key Features of BLE Asset Tracking
- Real-time tracking within premises
- Cloud-based & Secure
- Alarms & Alerts
- Productivity monitoring
- SMS/Email Notification
- Web consoleMobile consoles for assets
According to the Industry Arc, “The global Bluetooth Low Energy Market is estimated to surpass $16.7 billion mark by 2026 growing at an estimated CAGR of more than 19.68% during the forecast period 2021 to 2026.”
What Are the Main Components of BLE Used for Asset Tracking?
Components of BLE used for Asset Tracking are below:
1. BLE Tags
These BLE beacons are battery-powered hardware transmitters that transmit a small amount of data in a short range, consuming much less power.
The BLE beacons transfer a small amount of data at regular intervals.
2. BLE Readers
Like all readers, the BLE reader also receives data from BLE tags or Beacons and reports the location of assets to the tracking platform, so that the same statistics can be reflected in the user end.
The BLE reader updates you about what the reader monitors on the entry and exit of the assets and provides their real-time tracking information.
3. Tracking Platform
The tracking platform or application is used for asset tracking. The reader sends and displays the information on the asset management software. The user is able to report on the assets through this platform/application.
It tells the exact location of the business assets.
Industries in which BLE Asset Tracking can be used
The industries where the solution can easily be implemented are Agriculture, Education, Retail, Hospitality, Logistics, Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical, and Storage Warehouses.
Here are some of the scenarios:
- Manufacturing Industry
Optimization of production lines and their logistics is very necessary for the manufacturing industry to actively track goods and increase workplace safety and efficiency by tracking all kinds of movements.
BLE asset tracking is used to track assets on each movement from the production line to the dispatch areas and ensure improved operations.
- Hospital Industry
Tracking in hospitals is necessary for monitoring medical devices and supplies to help doctors and other staff to find them easily and manage them properly.
This spares the doctors' time from such chores and enables them to utilize it for patient care.
BLE helps to track medical devices and supplies in real-time, thereby improving asset utilization and increasing cost-efficiency.
- IT Industry
In the IT industry, asset tracking with BLE offers insights into the usage and movements of all the IT assets and equipment so they can be managed and utilized better.
In the IT sector beacons can work with employees' smartphones, assigned workstations, tasks, and more.
BLE tracking helps in monitoring the movements of shipments from warehouse to delivery locations. This expedites the process and eliminates errors to the maximum.
BLE asset tracking is used to navigate the parcels and deliveries until they are received at their destination locations.
Benefits of BLE Asset Tracking
1. Low Cost, High ROI
Though BLE asset tracking cannot emphatically be termed as low cost, it is definitely cost-effective. The more BLE beacons that are installed in indoor premises, the more accurate the information received.
BLE can assure a high return on investment as it tracks the assets and equipment accurately. BLE asset tracking works in both indoor and outdoor conditions.
2. Versatile Tags
BLE Beacons and tags are easy to install while integrating with existing networks and systems. They help the user save lots of time and money.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) does not require any additional infrastructure. It works on LED lighting power and the smartphones of personnel.
BLE Beacons provide real-time geo-location. They are, therefore, versatile for both indoor and outdoor applications.
3. Low Power Consumption
BLE Beacons consume low energy or power i.e. another cost-saving feature. As a real power saver, BLE provides a low-cost location system.
You can use standard batteries to make BLE beacons and tags run. They have an extended battery life of years and the batteries can also be easily replaced.
4. Improved Security
BLE signals are sent through cellular networks. All the messages sent from BLE Beacon travel through a cellular network inside a central gateway, increasing data security.
Though a little time-consuming process, the system cannot be called that slow also. It definitely delivers real-time information.
5. High Coverage Range
BLE Beacons provides you 4 times better range of coverage to scan the assets than earlier methods. With the implementation of a high and extended coverage range, you will need less hardware with reduced errors and reduced expenses.
6. High Broadcast Capacity
The most impressive feature of BLE asset tracking is its high broadcast capacity. BLE technique is capable to deliver 800% more broadcast messaging capacity.
BLE Beacon can transfer data at a rate of 200 Kbps in typically 3ms while consuming the lowest of power i.e., >15mA.
7. Fast Speed of Data Transfer
It is a very progressive feature that BLE Beacon can deliver data at a faster speed, nearly 2x the speed of other methods.
This kind of faster update of data provides makes the jobs of the operating managers a lot hassle-free.
Being new in the block, BLE has answered the requirements of people in the industry, and therefore, it has been equipped with all necessary functionalities.
BLE asset tracking is concerned to serve and provide a healthy solution to track and manage the assets of an organization. However, it would be more efficient and effective when you utilize it with asset management software.
BLE beacons do not require a lot of hardware components which makes it easy for managers and teams to get an easy check over the system.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How many different types of asset tracking techniques are there?
Asset tracking techniques are there such as Barcode, QR Code (Quick Response Code), RFID (Radio-frequency identification), NFC (Near field communication), BLE (Bluetooth low energy), GPS (Global Positioning System), IoT (Internet of Things), etc. These techniques are helpful in keeping track of assets in real-time and they provide accurate information.
2. Why is Bluetooth low energy important?
The Bluetooth tags are less expensive, and these tags have can work for long hours which means batteries have a long life moreover, these batteries can be recycled. For wireless communication, BLE is one of the best options. It has a long range and it is best used for indoor communication.
3. What are the real working scenarios of BLE?
1. Sending reminders for maintenance.
2. Monitor high-profile facilities such as shopping malls, international airports, etc.
3. Track and monitor valuable assets.
4. Know asset count quickly.
5. BLE tags are attached to the patient's hand to keep monitor health status.
These are a few of the real working scenarios of BLE