Sunday, February 21, 2010

GPS for RFID and RTLS Use

This is a question we get a lot from trucking companies and Logistics providers:

“We have GPS on all are trucks already why can't I just use GPS to track my assets?”

Answers: Well GPS may seem like it makes sense. Yes Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is a version of RTLS technology. It is a great system to track vehicles as they travel around the globe. But, when you are trying to do this with maybe thousands of tags in a smaller fixed location space like a storage yard or in the maintenance shop or warehouse is where you will have problems.

GPS does a wonderful job, I would not travel anywhere today without it. I never carry maps any longer, I just plug into my GPS where I want to go and I’m off. GPS has come a long way over the last few years, being very affordable for the consumer to mount one in every vehicle. But in tunnels, heavy tree cover, and parking garages we find out quite quickly they do not find the satellites very well. This is where we find the weak link for RTLS or RFID uses.

Around the world there is literally billions of square meters of floor space under roof. Navatar satellites operating far above the earth are not designed to transmit in a way to penetrate buildings and heavy overhead structure.
Outdoor applications find GPS coming up short as well. GPS can locate itself, but to transfer that information back they must have cell phone access or some other communication process. Lots of software and monthly fees are the end result, plus the cost of the hardware is much higher for each asset. At best with GPS you will have 30 to 100 foot location zones and updated maybe every five to ten minutes at best.

Good RTLS and RFID systems can be deployed much more cost effectively, and give you close to two meter accuracy without costing you an arm and a leg. Add in a good software backend connected to you current systems and you have an end to end ROI generating system.

Now don’t get me wrong we work with a couple of the top GPS solutions on the market today. Once the asset is mobile and on the road GPS gives you that part of the total visibility package. Remember some of my other posting, “Balance and blending solutions together are what give you the correct solution”. Pressing one solution to fit everything just does not work, this approach may appear less costly but it will cost you more money in the end and perform somewhere far below your requirements or expectations.

Use GPS in your car and on the road, let the RFID tags handle the other stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment