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By Beth Bacheldor

Bluewater Health Selects Awarepoint RTLS

Awarepoint, a provider of real-time locating systems (RTLS), has announced that Canadian hospital operator Bluewater Health has signed an agreement to install Awarepoint's RTLS at Bluewater Health in Sarnia, as well as Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital of Bluewater Health in Petrolia. A phased-in deployment in 2016 will include tracking and managing more than 4,500 medical equipment assets, temperature and humidity monitoring, emergency response pendants for personnel, and support patient wayfinding across 850,000 square feet.

Bluewater Health will deploy Awarepoint Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, battery-powered RFID tags (asset, patient, staff and environmental) that combine BLE and Wi-Fi technologies, awareHealth software and managed services. The deployment is planned to start during the first quarter of next year. Awarepoint bundles BLE and Wi-Fi technologies, cloud-hosted software and managed services into an integrated location-as-a-service solution. Awarepoint introduced its Bluetooth BLE RTLS platform in April 2015, and it includes two types of BLE beacons: Enterprise and High Accuracy. The Enterprise beacons can locate objects to within 1 to 3 meters (3.3 feet to 9.8 feet) and provide mobile wayfinding, asset management and other location services, at a minimum cost, throughout large facilities. The High Accuracy beacons provide greater precision, according to Awarepoint spokesman Bernard Lee, enabling a user to track the location of a tag or mobile device as it enters or exits a room. The combination of Enterprise and High Accuracy beacons provides the flexibility to support a variety of location use cases with a single platform, he says.

Awarepoint's BLE beacons work with its customer's Wi-Fi network. The battery-powered BLE beacons are configured and managed via Wi-Fi. Awarepoint RFID tags, as well as mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), detect the BLE beacon signals and transmit them, via that Wi-Fi network, to an onsite location engine that calculates the tags' position. Location processing and database updates happen in the cloud. Locations can also be processed directly on a smartphone or tablet.

The Awarepoint approach to RTLS technology uses secure, cloud-hosted software known awareHealth. Using awareHealth, onsite employees have real-time visibility into the locations of assets and individuals, can generate historical reports, and can also view real-time information regarding temperature and humidity, in order to ensure the proper storage and handling of perishables. According to Lee, the cloud-hosted software eliminates the need for complex installations, supports rapid scaling and integrates quickly with other applications. The detailed historical reporting provides additional insight into workflow efficiencies, and enables continuous improvement using tools for data analytics.

The Awarepoint RTLS solution is delivered as a fully managed service, Lee says, meaning that Awarepoint is responsible for all hardware and software support, from battery replacement to server and network monitoring. Everything, from start to finish, including layout, configuration, installation, and ongoing support, is done by Awarepoint experts to ensure that the technologies behind the system, including BLE and Wi-Fi, perform at their best and meet regulatory requirements.

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