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Lockheed Martin to Deploy BLE Solution for RTLS at Orlando Facilities

The Tracko solution, from OnyxBeacon, was commercially released in late 2016, and includes beacons, an app and software platform to identify location, and sound alerts as configured by users.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 27, 2017

Following a three-month pilot, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) has begun the permanent installation of a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-based real-time locating system (RTLS) from OnyxBeacon to track the movement of inventory through two of its warehouses in Orlando, Fla. The technology, known as Tracko, was commercially released in October 2016. The system consists of OnyxBeacon's enterprise BLE beacons, mobile apps for iOS- or Android-based devices, and cloud-based RTLS management software in which location data can be collected, stored and analyzed.

Lockheed Martin RMS provides technology for helicopters; integrated air and missile defense; radar; and littoral, undersea or electronic warfare; as well as cyber solutions and training and logistics systems. The aerospace and defense company is using the Tracko system to track packages of components that will be used in its product production. However, OnyxBeacon will not reveal the number of beacons being used or the specific assets being monitored, and Lockheed Martin RMS declines to comment about the installation.

OnyxBeacon's Claudiu Rusu
In general terms, says Claudiu Rusu, OnyxBeacon's marketing communications manager, Tracko is intended to help companies locate high-value assets with an easy-to-install solution. Targeted customers include companies with warehouses, as well as production facilities, hospitals and any other businesses with sizable parking lots that wish to track large numbers of assets or vehicles.

Without automated location-tracking capability, companies can waste large amounts of time and labor searching for goods, such as materials for assembly, tools and equipment, or products for shipping. RTLS solutions, however, can be expensive to install.

OnyxBeacon is offering Tracko as what it calls a more flexible alternative to active RFID-based RTLS solutions, since the hardware infrastructure is relatively simple with BLE technology. Beacons can be attached to assets, and OnyxBeacon's zone beacons are installed throughout a facility. Android- or iOS-based devices capture the beacon ID numbers from both asset and zone devices, then approximate each tagged item's location.

Going a step further, Rusu says, the Tracko system is the first solution to use BLE with a software-based grid infrastructure equipped with buzzers. This provides users with a way to identify one beacon among many. For instance, if multiple beacon-tagged items are similar in appearance and located within a single zone, a user can input a request in the app to prompt the beacon he or she seeks to emit an audible buzz.

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