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HID Global, Mist Systems Bring BLE to RTLS Deployments

A partnership between the two companies provides an open standard-based RTLS solution, while HID Global is also releasing a new BLE badge beacon that hospitals and other businesses can use for duress alerts.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 11, 2019

HID Global is growing its Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-based solutions in the form of a new tool offering: its BEEKs Duress Badge Beacon, which transmits BLE signals. The company is partnering with Mist Systems, a wireless network solutions company that converges BLE and Wi-Fi technologies for wayfinding, asset management and other location- and Internet of Things (IoT)-based systems. HID Global offers its location services under the brand name HID Location Services.

HID Global and Mist Systems are targeting an audience that is increasingly seeking open standards for real-time location system (RTLS) solutions, says Rom Eizenberg, HID Global's Bluvision business VP. As an alternative to proprietary solutions leveraging Wi-Fi or other technologies used to capture RTLS data, the companies are employing BLE technology for an open-standard solution with a low cost of entry.

The BEEKs Duress Badge Beacon
HID Global is releasing its new product to compete with existing RTLS solution providers that, in many cases, sell tags and receivers at a relatively high cost. For solutions that offer proprietary RFID, ultrasound or other technologies, Eizenberg explains, users are typically locked into buying systems from a single vendor. HID Global has a different approach, he notes, as it enables users to mix and match the technologies they use in an RTLS deployment. With other companies, he says, the typical approach is, "'If you don't like our sensors or software, then buy something else.' With our solution, the customer retains the power."

HID Global's products are intended to be lower in cost than traditional RTLS technologies. Typically, the firm charges about $10 for an asset tag and $20 for a personnel badge with a lifespan of up to four years. The BEEKs Duress Badge Beacon was designed to offer users in the health-care or caregiver market a wireless tool for making an emergency call when under duress; however, it can operate in a variety of other markets as well, including retail, manufacturing and hospitality. An individual wearing the device can simply press the duress button if he or she feels unsafe, which transmits an alert to BLE receivers that identify who is placing the call and that person's location, then forwards the alert to the appropriate parties, such as security guards.

The BEEKs badge product line, the company reports, is part of its IoT location services platform, which is designed to bring multiple functions to a single device. While many hospital workers might carry three or more badges (one for access control, another for duress and a third for hand sanitation), the HID Location Services platform makes it possible to offer all three functions in the same badge. "Access-control badges are a core business for HID Global," Eizenberg says, "and our BLE-powered HID Location Services offering marries all three badges into a single device."

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