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Q-Track Kit Provides RTLS Coverage at Low Cost

The company's new kit is aimed at companies for which traditional real-time location systems are too expensive or complex, and can be installed and commissioned by a user within a matter of hours.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 12, 2018

Real-time location system (RTLS) company Q-Track Corp. has released an RTLS indoor location evaluation kit intended to lower the cost of entry for RTLS deployments to around $3,500. The kit aims to serve as a starting point for companies, the company reports, with two active RTLS tag transmitters, four "locator receivers" and software to help users identify the locations of those tags in real time. Following evaluation, companies would likely purchase more tags, and possibly more locators as well, to track more people or to cover larger areas.

The system targets companies wishing to monitor the movements of people, explains Steve Werner, Q-Track's CEO. He envisions the relatively low-cost RTLS technology being used for monitoring employee security and safety, as well as medical, retail and service optimization, personnel training and workplace efficiency.

Q-Track, located in Huntsville, Ala, provides indoor location systems that accomplish location accuracy down to about 1 foot. Its customers include nuclear facilities and military agencies that employ RTLS technology for training purposes—to understand the movements of trainees and, therefore, the amount of radiation exposure to which they may expose themselves—as well as military contractors (see Urban Warfighters Train With RTLS).

The technology consists of Near-Field Electromagnetic Ranging (NFER) RTLS transmissions. The NFER system's battery-powered tags transmit at a frequency between 1 MHz and 1.2 MHz, with a long wavelength that measures approximately 100 meters (328 feet). Each tag is uniquely identified based on the frequency at which it transmits, Werner says, adding that a full system can accommodate up to 84 tags.

"By using low frequency," Werner states, "we don't need as much infrastructure" as some competing RTLS solutions. "That's a big advantage for us." The locators are typically installed about every 60 feet. Each locator evaluates the near-field properties of the tag signals, then applies an RF "fingerprinting algorithm" to locate the tag to within a specific accuracy of about 40 centimeters (15.7 inches).

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