The world is changing every day in the aspect of growing technology. So is changing the asset tracking industry with the norms of technology it uses for tracking.
There have arrived many techniques and technologies for asset tracking like Barcode, QR code, RFID, NFC, now the latest growing is IoT and Bluetooth Low Technology (BLE beacons).
Technology has grown well and so are the demands of customers or clients to receive the best solution with real-time information whenever the 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 that is designed to provide reduced power consumption and cost as compared with the Classic Bluetooth, while maintaining a similar communication range.
The specificity of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE):
- Low Power Wireless Technology
- Especially for Short-range Communication
- Allows Devices to Communicate with each other
- Perfect for Situations where Battery life is favoured over high data transfer speed
- Almost all the 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.
Note: BLE is not an upgrade to Original Bluetooth or Bluetooth Classic, rather it is a new technology that focuses on Internet of Things (IoT) applications to transfer a small amount of data at low speed.
Benefits of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
- Low Power Consumption
- Long Battery Life (from months to years)
- Small-sized data transfer in the Internet of Things (IoT) based applications with max. 255 bytes of message capacity.
- Cost-Efficient and Compatible
- Security and Reliability
- Wireless co-existence
- Connection Range up to 300 m
- Easy Integration and Use
Major differences between Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
1. Power Consumption
BLE is low power consumption, just a need for few batteries to run BLE beacons. BLE beacons can run from months to several years with the same batteries.
Whereas classic Bluetooth provides higher data throughput and therefore, consumes high power.
2. Technology Applications
Classic Bluetooth is used for the continuous streaming of data like Bluetooth Headphones.
Whereas, BLE works well for periodic data transfer while consuming a considerable amount of battery power.
3. Synchronized Connections
In sync, BLE can make 20 connections as it transfers a small amount of data and connects quickly.
Whereas, classic Bluetooth can only initiate up to 7 connections in sync.
Note: BLE beacons provide 99.95% real-time accurate location and reduce the cost of tracking assignment of assets.
What are BLE beacons?
As per Wikipedia, BLE beacons are the battery-powered, hardware transmitters. BLE beacons transmit a small amount of data in a lesser range consuming much less power.
BLE beacons transfer a small amount of data at regular intervals. All the Bluetooth enabled devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. can scan and display these signals.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Asset Tracking
For most of the businesses today, the main reason for their concern is simple, efficient and streamlined asset tracking, in a cost-effective manner.
Bluetooth asset tracking is concerned to provide a healthy solution to the industries dealing with their assets in a complicated way.
Here are some of the characteristics of BLE Asset Tracking:
1. Low Cost, High ROI
I will not tell you directly that BLE asset tracking will be of low cost, but it is definitely cost-effective. More BLE beacons you will install in your indoor premises more accurate information you will receive.
At the end of the year, it will give you a high return on investment. As will be tracking your assets and equipment accurately. BLE asset tracking works for both indoor and outdoor conditions.
2. Versatile Tags
BLE Beacons and tags are made easy while integrating with existing networks and systems. This also can save you lots of time and money.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) does not require any additional infrastructure rather works on LED lighting power and the mobile phones of the users (staff).
BLE Beacons provide real-time Geo-locations therefore, they are versatile for both indoor and outdoor environment positioning.
3. Low Power Consumption
BLE Beacons consume low energy or power i.e., another cost-saving feature. It is a real power saver of all the time, providing you a low-cost location system.
You can use standard batteries to make BLE beacons and tags run. They have extended battery life of years and you can easily change the batteries whenever they ran out.
Note: The only drawback of BLE Asset Tracking as of now, is its low range of scanning.
4. Improved Security
BLE signals are sent through cellular networks, all the messages sent from BLE Beacon travel through cellular network inside a central gateway, which increases the data security.
It is a little time-consuming process but not even that slow, it will definitely deliver you 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 the data with the rate of 200 Kbps in typically 3ms while consuming the lowest of the power i.e., >15mA.
7. Fast Speed of Data Transfer
It is very progressive that BLE Beacon can deliver the data at a faster speed that also 2x the speed of other methods.
This kind of faster updates of data provides less hassle for the managers involved.
Few More Applications of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) other than Asset Tracking
- Heat Mapping
- Content Delivery
- Auto Check-in
- Proximity Marketing
- Indoor Navigation
- BLE enabled Retail Experience
It is an estimation that over 565 million BLE Beacons should be shipped annually by 2021. From this, anyone can estimate that BLE Beacons has set a trend of tracking.
Through BLE asset tracking you can track your assets in real-time, efficiently and progressively.