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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

"Our solution is flexible, meaning that it can be custom-tailored according to the customer's needs," Rusu says. Users can determine how granular their location data needs to be, and install the necessary zone beacons accordingly, for instance.

First, an OnyxBeacon beaconing device is attached to an asset or a piece of inventory. The beacons are designed to be rugged for industrial use cases, and come with a built-in buzzer. They have a battery life of one to four years, depending on the frequency of transmissions, and can be set to transmit at a distance of between 3 meters and 70 meters (9.8 feet and 230 feet). The beacons are robust enough, Rusu says, to be used in industries such as mining.

Once beacon tags are attached, users can employ a 2D map of the facility in the Tracko software platform to set up heat maps, along with zones in which specific beacons are authorized. Individuals moving through the facility carry mobile devices with the Bluetooth function turned on. As they walk or drive around the premises, the devices receive beacon signals from asset and zone devices and forward that data to the server. The users can then collect that data, not only for real-time location information and alerts, but also to maintain a location history and conduct analytics based on those beacons' movements.

"The main benefit Tracko brings to all deployments is a significant search time reduction," Rusu states. Lockheed Martin RMS and other companies are interested in reducing the amount of time employees spend searching for assets in order to manage inventory and prevent loss. However, he adds, businesses are also discussing or launching pilots with OnyxBeacon to use the Tracko system to monitor workers or industrial vehicles for safety, as well as identify bottlenecks and optimize their workflows.

Several other companies, in addition to Lockheed Martin RMS, are also piloting the Tracko system for asset and inventory tracking. In the case of parking lots, beacons could be attached to vehicles to transmit an ID to area mobile devices, thereby creating location data regarding specific vehicles. In warehouses, goods stored on shelves or in bays can come with beacons attached to them, and that data can be collected by employees passing in forklifts or other vehicles. For work-in-progress, beacons attached to products being assembled would transmit to mobile devices, such as those carried or mounted at work stations, to update data about the status of a product's production.

The cost of the solution is based on deployment size, Rusu says. "It is, in most cases, cheaper than similar technologies used in RTLS," he adds, "such as UWB [ultra-wideband] or Wi-Fi."

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