Why choose BLE over GPS for your infacility real time location system?
The Blue Tooth Low Energy (BLE) Vs Global Positioning System (GPS) has been going on for a while. This article will try and put a full stop to it. So as to first understand which one is better, let’s first get to know their definition:
What is Internet of Things (IoT)
A robust network of electronic devices, sensors or actuators that connect to each other through the internet to collect and receive information.
What is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
It is a wireless technology that enables the transfer of encrypted information i.e. 1 and 0s, from an asset to another device that can decrypt that information. The device gets the BLE signal from the beacon and relays it to a software that has the code to decrypt that information and make sense out of all the data sent to it. Bluetooth Low Energy provides significantly reduced power consumption and cost while maintaining a similar communication range when compared to the traditional Bluetooth technology.
What is Global Positioning System (GPS)
A navigation system that uses satellites in earth’s orbit to locate things on earth. The satellites (4 or more) need unobstructed line of sight to provide time and location to a GPS receiver located on or close to earth. The accuracy of the location provided by GPS is dependent on the number of satellites that a receiver is connected to and in general is highly inaccurate.
Global positioning system is used in many devices nowadays including smartphones, tablets and other devices like smartwatches. GPS very rarely uses only the satellite signal to locate something. It also uses the Wi-Fi, the cellular information and other information so as to provide a proper location and these additional inputs are very difficult to calibrate inside a facility. That is the reason why the location is highly inaccurate this also reduces battery life significantly and makes the system very cumbersome.
GPS works perfectly in the open and has some great use cases outdoors but it starts facing issues when the asset tracking is inside buildings or facilities. GPS signals are not powerful enough to penetrate inside any enclosed space. Moreover, GPS devices cannot transmit the location information without using other networks like GPRS, EDGE or Wifi. But for asset tracking inside buildings, these other networks can unreliable and expensive that significantly reduces the feasibility of such a system. We do have technology that helps in increasing the power of the GPS signal like GPS repeaters and gateways and these are handy when you do not need high level of accuracy for tracking assets.
But when it comes to accuracy, BLE comes in handy. BLE is significantly more accurate and requires very less resources to operate optimally. It is an install and forget mechanism that makes tracking inside buildings an easy task or anyone. It is the most powerful alternative to GPS inside buildings and solves many problems including accurate asset tracking, low maintenance and significantly low cost of implementation.
So when it comes to tracking assets in an enclosed space, BLE is the right choice and if the tracking is on the streets, GPS is the right choice.
At Syook, we believe that the Internet of Things presents companies of all sizes with the opportunity to optimise their operations and achieve enormous savings, with minimum expense. Our first product, Syook InSite, gives businesses complete visibility into their operations, from the movement of people to the monitoring of assets. We believe that the operational improvements this technology will bring about could result in huge changes, helping industries make a successful transition to Industry 4.0.