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Partnership Enables Hybrid BLE for Zonal and Real-Time Tracking

Acumentive is in discussions with customers that plan to launch the Bluetooth Low Energy system with low-cost zonal tracking, using dongle readers and beacons in some areas, and Fathom Hub-based tracking of moving beacons in others.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 26, 2017

U.K.-based asset-tracking solutions company Acumentive is offering a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) system in partnership with Fathom, to bring real-time location capabilities to its low-cost, easily installed asset-locating solutions. The resulting hybrid system can track items or individuals within zones, and can do so within a few meters at locations where that level of location granularity is necessary.

The partnership with British Columbia-based industrial indoor location technology firm Fathom allows Acumentive to serve two needs: tracking beacons only when they pass a beacon receiver in areas where zonal coverage is enough, and zeroing in on a specific location with the same beacon tag, using a Fathom Hub installed in that area.

Acumentive's Martin Kruse
Several companies are currently in discussions with Acumentive to use the technology to identify where a tag is located and where it moves to in real time, in places such as production areas. Also being discussed is the use of zones in warehouses or storage areas, to define where a tag was last seen.

For several years, Acumentive has offered its SenseAnyWare, zero-infrastructure platform that allows users to locate beacon tags using only a beacon dongle plugged into a PC or other computing device, says Martin Kruse, Acumentive's founder and managing director. The company began developing its technology during the past few years to deliver very low-cost location tracking.

Acumentive worked with ArjoHuntleigh, a maker of specialty beds for hospitals, beginning in 2015. The company wanted to provide bed location tracking services to its customers so that they could better manage the beds that they rented or purchased, as those beds were moved around the medical facility.

Installing real-time location system (RTLS) or RFID readers throughout a hospital was too expensive for ArjoHuntleigh's purposes, Kruse says, so Acumentive began working on its zero-infrastructure solution. According to Kruse, the company determined that since nurse workstations are equipped with PCs and tend to be installed at the entrance to many hospital zones, the company could simply plug a low-cost beacon dongle into the PC, provide software to manage beacon transmission data and supply beacon tags to track beds or other assets. Acumentive makes its own beacon tags—designed to be lost-cost—that transmit data only (as opposed to also receiving transmissions) and have a long battery life.

In addition, Acumentive offers an app for Android or iOS devices so that workers can use their smartphones or tablets to conduct inventory searches or audits.

The release of the Raspberry Pi single-board computer device makes the solution even lower in cost, Kruse adds, since a dongle can be plugged into this computer as well. The device can then capture beacon transmissions from examining rooms, laboratories or other locations, in the same way that nurse station PCs do.

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