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Why Zone-Based Real-time Location Systems Are Superior

For indoor applications, zone-based approaches provide far more reliable results than triangulation-based methods, and at a cheaper cost.
By Abraham Blonder
A device (zone indicator) is installed within each individual room, which periodically emits signals indicating the ID of the zone in which the tags are located. The zone indicators can be tuned to reach only the tags in that particular room. Zone indicators are normally radio emitters. Some companies use IR emitters as zone indicators, in which case the tags must include an IR sensor. Upon receiving the signal from the zone indicator, periodically, or in response to a call by the reader, the tags emit a signal that includes their own ID, as well as that of the zone in which they are situated.

Zone indicators typically cost only 20 to 30 percent of the readers' price. They are wireless, and some are even battery-operated, so their installation is very easy and requires no infrastructure. In order to conserve the tag battery, some manufactures put the tag in sleep mode. The tag is then awoken by the zone indicator.

While some companies keep confusing the issue for commercial reasons, it is clear, beyond any doubt, that for indoor applications, where room-level accuracy localization is required, the second generation of zoning-based systems is the most suited approach:

• Their localization accuracy is superior.
• The stability of their results is much greater.
• Their cost is significantly lower
• Their installation is very simple and requires almost no infrastructure, other than a network connection and electricity for each reader, covering up to 20 rooms.

Abraham Blonder is the president of Vizbee RFID Systems, a provider of real-time tracking software designed to support all leading RFID technologies, including different types within the same project, for security, inventory and workflow applications. For more information, read How to Implement RFID Projects Without Risk in Days.


Glenn Tamir 2011-08-25 01:44:20 PM
The important question however is , does the accuracy meet t It may be possible to achieve incredible levels of accuracy with certain active RFID systems. However, the question that often does NOT get asked is, what is the need of the customer and the application? Does it really matter if one system can show which floor tile an IV pump is sitting on if all the customer needs to know id where it is located in a general area??? It's not about hitting the bullseye but meeting the needs of the customer and the application.
Glenn Tamir 2011-08-26 12:58:08 AM
I Completely agree with this article In this very well-researched article, it is clear that the Second-Generation Zoning method is the least expensive and most reliable system for healthcare applications and other indoor environments. LogiTag Systems, Inc., which has been specializing in RFID technology since 2004, has designed it RTLS system called "LogiTrack" based on this very technology. Thank you for validating that the direction LogiTag has been pursuing is the right course to take. It is reassuring to know this and bodes well for our future as we enter the US Market.
Jack Vandenberghe 2011-10-05 11:12:34 AM
What about for a warehouse? I like this artilce and am just wondering how RTLS could be applied not to single rooms, but to a large warehouse area that is not partioned into rooms?

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