Why GPS Doesn’t Work Indoors & An Introduction To RTLS

Post By: Kenneth | Date: October 23, 2018

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a technology we use on a daily basis. We know its main function can have a wide range of uses, for individuals and in industry. Although associated with location monitoring, which it does well outdoors, GPS isn’t reliable for monitoring what’s going on indoors. In this article, we’ll examine why that is and introduce the alternative, the Real-time Location System.

Why GPS Doesn’t Work Indoors

GPS uses satellites that orbit around the globe to plot the location of objects on land. Satellites send radio signals to GPS devices on the ground; these devices can then calculate location based on this information. A device on the ground must know its distance from a minimum of four satellites to be able to plot its location with geometry. Here’s why that doesn’t work indoors:

1. Obstructions

Assets inside buildings, be it hospitals, manufacturing units, warehouses or offices, cannot gain easy access to GPS signal because they are indoors and to get constant and, therefore, accurate readings, the signals should not be interrupted. A clear path devoid of objects (from buildings to heavy clouds) is needed, but isn’t available indoors.

2. Distortion

The algorithm used to calculate the position of GPS receivers do not take distortion into account. As industries tend to be in areas that are densely populated, there is plenty of distortion, resulting in unreliable plotting of position.

3. Power struggles

Receivers for GPS use up a lot of power as they constantly search for signal to maintain location logs. Though there are options available that use lower amounts of energy, these don’t have a lot of scope in terms of area and range coverage.

4. Cost

The hardware required for GPS asset monitoring can be expensive, with costs multiplying as the number of tags you need goes up. Its high power usage also requires you to shell out extra on charging frequently-drained batteries. And, because you are making use of cellular networks, you will be charged for the data costs involved, too.

These reasons combined make GPS highly unsuitable for tracking of assets internally. That responsibility is on the shoulders of another technology, Indoor Positioning System.

Presenting RTLS

To track people and resources indoors, a number of technologies can be implemented, from Ultra Wide Band to Bluetooth and even Wi-Fi, and are in use by diverse industries worldwide. These implementations are known as Real-time location systems (RTLS) and they bring high accuracy and low costs to the monitoring of assets and people (regardless of their number). An RTLS can be implemented quickly, is extremely user-friendly and provides invaluable data that can be easily analysed to bring improvements in operational safety and compliance and productivity gains to organizations in any industry.

Head over to Syook to find out more about how an RTLS solution can help your organization, or contact us to set-up demo.

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