IoT and Real Time Location System (RTLS) - Mobiloitte

IoT and Real Time Location System for Logistics & Supply Chain Management

Whether you’re in retail, manufacturing, distribution, or shipping, planning and managing the flow of inbound raw materials and outbound finished goods through your supply chain is a challenge. Materials are often inappropriately shipped or stored, which can damage sensitive goods. One of the best ways to reduce material wastage and to improve logistics is with the use of real-time location systems (RTLS).

Today, there are lot of options for asset-tracking solutions, that can be installed and operated for 10 times less than UWB and infrared.

Use cases of IoT applications in logistics:

  • Fleet Management
  • Tracking deliveries from the vendor to the manufacturing facility.
  • Tracking deliveries and materials around your manufacturing facility.
  • Tracking deliveries and materials inside your manufacturing facility.
  • Monitor sensitive goods to avoid damage or loss.

Key technologies:

Two key technologies are being used in this area are: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) based iBeacon and radio-frequency identification (RFID). Both have their own pros & cons.

Selection criteria:

1. Accuracy level

Do you need room-level accuracy, or more specific location capabilities? With higher number of reference points location accuracy can be increased.

2. Infrastructural need

For new construction, systems like infrared or WiFi-based RTLS may work well for you. But for retrofitting a system in current building, you’ll want to select RTLS that is easier to install.

3. Cost of ownership & ROT

Most important considerations for manufacturers looking to implement an IoT-based monitoring and tracking solution is the total cost of ownership. Battery life, tag cost, power consumption, and employee training all come into play when calculating cost. So, evaluation of these is must.

4. Tag cost

Tag cost varies dramatically and makes an impact on whether or not an IoT-based logistics solution will work for you. E.g. passive RFID tags can be from few pennies on the dollar, iBeacon tags can be obtained for less than $15, and WiFi tags are typically around $40-$60.

5. Battery life for each tag

Battery life impacts maintenance. Some iBeacon can be optimized to send data need basis rather than continuous.

6. System security

IoT application needs high security. Security can be enhanced by using modern AES TLS data transport methods. Standalone data network e.g. cellular network can eliminate IT network vulnerability.

When you implement an IoT application of any sort on your network, keeping your data secure is a top priority. The AirFinder system uses multiple layers of device and data security to ensure your data and IT networks are safe. BLE data is encrypted end-to-end using A “stand-alone” data network, which can be connected via cellular, eliminates IT network.