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Hotels, Retailers, Offices Piloting Technology Once Aimed at Health Care

CenTrak has expanded its RTLS and BLE solutions to companies beyond its traditional health-care market, as its partners from hospitality to retail are asking to employ the BLE and other functionalities built into its systems.
By Claire Swedberg
May 18, 2018

Real-time location technologies company CenTrak has traditionally served the health-care market, most recently by including Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons in its integrated solutions (see CentTrak Builds BLE Beacon Functionality Into RTLS Devices). Now, the company is expanding further, by providing its hardware and integration platform to markets beyond health care. Its beacon and real-time location system (RTLS) offerings are being piloted through solution providers or resellers in retail, hospitality, restaurants and other vertical markets.

"Historically, we've always been a health-care technology provider," says Ari Naim, CenTrak's president and CEO. But recently, the company's resellers and solution providers have been asking for solutions outside of that market. The transition was fueled by the company's adoption of BLE beacons into its products.

CenTrak manufactures Wi-Fi-, RFID-, Gen2IR- and ultrasound-based hardware to enable hospitals to track and manage the locations and statuses of their assets, supplies, staff members and patients. Its focus is on an integrated solution by which all system data can be collected on CenTrak's Enterprise Location Services platform on a user's server or in the cloud. The system not only collects and manages the data, but also tracks the conditions of the hardware performing the collection.

With the proliferation of BLE technology in smartphones, Naim says, many hospitals have been installing wayfinding systems that help visitors more easily navigate their way through what can be large and complex facilities with which they are unfamiliar. The systems require the installation of battery-powered beacons that transmit data to phones, which in turn employ a hospital's app to view their location based on that transmission.

The problem with battery-powered beacons, Naim says, is that they sometimes lose power. In large deployments, such as at hospitals, malls or office complexes, this can result in an ineffective system because users lack the resources to physically check each beacon on a regular basis to confirm that its battery is operating.

"That's the reason a lot of pilots fail," Naim states. "It's really easy to put together a beacon system, but if you can't provide the support, management and maintenance of the system, it may not work the way the customer needs it to." CenTrak's beacons are integrated as part of its platform, thereby making it possible to view when any beacon requires servicing.

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