- RTLS GlossaryFind a compilation of the most important terms used when talking about Real Time Location Services
Angle of Arrival (AoA)
Angle of Arrival (AoA) is a method for calculating a position using Bluetooth Low Energy signals. Not only the signal strength is included in the calculation (see RSSI), but also the angle at which the signal is picked up. With the AoA method very precise positioning in the sub-meter range is possible.
API stands for “application programming interface”, usually short “programming interface” is a program part, which is made available by a software system to other programs for connection to the system. An API is needed, for example, for connecting and integrating data collected by a beacon infrastructure into an existing enterprise resource planning system or similar.
Asset Tracking means the tracking of goods in mostly industrial use. This tracking also uses radio technology and the transmitter / receiver principle. For asset tracking with beacon technology, the items to be tracked – such as moving factory inventory – are equipped with beacons or other tags Modern tracking systems are increasingly relying on combinations of different technologies, such as RFID and beacon technology.
A Beacon is a small transmitter that sends signals on the Bluetooth low-energy standard with a range of up to 40 meters. Beacons send a signal at a specific time interval that can be assigned by the correct receiving device. In most cases, the device is a smartphone or tablet with the corresponding app. In the signal, an ID is transmitted with which each beacon can be identified. Meanwhile, a distinction must be made between iBeacons (Apple) and Eddystone beacons (Google). Eddystone beacons, in contrast to iBeacons, can send a URL. In so-called audio beacons, no physical device is meant, but an audio signal inaudible to the human ear. Information similar to a watermark is modulated into the signal, for example about the location. The technology is therefore also called audio watermarking.
Bluetooth is an industry standard for data transmission over short distances between devices via radio technology. Using this standard, devices can be networked at a distance of about ten meters. Maximum ranges of 75 meters can be achieved. Bluetooth currently means Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) in the context of location-based services. BLE distinguishes itself in comparison to the classical Bluetooth by a clearly reduced energy consumption. The Android operating system supports BLE since version 4.3 (mid-2013). Apple’s iOS operating system supports BLE since iOS 5. BLE is the wireless standard with which beacons communicate.
Planning and Installation of a beacon infrastructure.
The Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon Profile Eddystone was introduced in 2015 by Google as an alternative to Apple’s iBeacon. It should be noted that this is not a hardware, but a software protocol that is flashed on beacons. The system, which was released as an open-source program and can be used on various platforms, named after a famous lighthouse in front of the coast of Cornwall, because the signal of the beacon is as simple as that of a lighthouse and works also only in one direction. It can be received by all Bluetooth enabled devices. The Google solution makes it possible to send not just an ID via Beacon but also entire web addresses. It is no longer supported by Google.
Fingerprinting is way of determining the position by means of WLAN infrastructure. Instead of determining the distance between objects and reference points, the fingerprint technique searches for characteristic matches of signals such as RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) and MAC address (Media Access Control). For this purpose, first a database acting as a “map” is created with the characteristics of the existing WLAN signals at a specific location and at a specific time. Normally “broadcasts” sent out by WLAN routers are recorded. In later operation, the smartphone sends the signals received within the WLAN infrastructure to a server. There, the signal strength is compared with the signal strengths stored in the “map” and then the position is estimated. This is in turn continuously sent back to the smartphone.
Firmware is software that is embedded in electronic devices. In this case, it is the “operating system” of the beacon.
This term generally refers to a transfer point and means above all a switching device in computer networks or a component (hardware and / or software), which establishes a connection between two systems. The term gateway implies that the forwarded data will be processed. In beacon technology, for example, the Beacon Tracker from the “Relay” series used by Favendo, which receive the beacon signals and forward them to a server, act as gateways.
Geofencing is an made-up word consisting of geographic and fence. Geofencing can be used, for example, to activate an immobilizer when a car leaves a defined zone. The zone can be e.g. a construction site, a festival area or a defined zone within a building.
Geotargeting (analogue zone alarm) is used when actions such as push notifications are not to be triggered at a certain point, but when entering, leaving or staying in defined zones, e.g. in the entrance area of an exhibition. For example, if a festival visitor who has installed the corresponding app enters the festival area and thus the defined radio signal radius, a push notification is triggered on his or her smartphone. This is independent of the point at which he walks through the imaginary fence.
GPS is a global positioning system, a global navigation satellite system for positioning in the open air.
The term granularity is often simply used to describe the accuracy of positioning. A distinction is often made between presence, zone and position tracking. In the first case, the system only checks whether an asset is “there”, i.e. whether it is located in the building. In the second case, the system checks whether an asset is located within a certain zone (see Geofencing). With position tracking, the exact position of the asset is constantly tracked.
A beacon is a small transmitter that transmits signals with a range of up to 40 meters on the Bluetooth low-energy standard. Beacons send a signal at a specific time interval that can be assigned by the correct receiving device. In most cases, the device is a smartphone or tablet with the corresponding app. In the signal, an ID is transmitted with which each beacon can be identified. There is a distinction between the standards iBeacon (Apple) and Eddystone beacon (Google). Eddystone beacons can, unlike iBeacons, send an URL.
Short for Internet of Things; 1999, the British technology researcher and co-inventor of the RFID chip at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Kevin Ashton, with the term “IoT” referred to the connection of physical things with a structure of virtual representations. Sebastian Berg, a scientist at RWTH Aachen University, prefers the German synonym “Industry 4.0”. While the American “Internet of Things” is more concerned with products, the focus of Industry 4.0 is on production.
Location- based Services are mobile services that, with the help of location-dependent data, provide the end user with relevant content on the smartphone for him / her at this moment and at that location, or provide services of a different kind. Location-based services are used in many industries, such as in retail / stationary trade, in transport, in tourism and as a component of successful digitization in Industry 4.0.
With a range of up to 10 km in rural areas and 2 km in urban areas, LoRaWan (Long Range Wide Area Network) is one of the technologies with the highest range for positioning. The low-power wireless network protocol was developed for communication on the Internet of Things, the specifications are defined and freely available by the LoRa Alliance, a non-profit organization initiated by industrial companies from all industries. In addition to the long range, the ability to penetrate buildings is one of the advantages, and to a certain extent underground rooms can also be supplied.
Indoor positioning via magnetic field measurement: This method of positioning makes use of the magnetic field of the earth. It takes advantage of the fact that modern buildings have a specific magnetic fingerprint, which results from the interaction of the earth’s magnetic field with the building materials used and the architectural features. The more steel used in the building, the better for this positioning solution. So what proves to be disturbing when positioning via radio signals is what makes positioning possible in this case. The steel is responsible for the characteristic interference of the earth’s magnetic field. Positioning with an accuracy of one to two meters should be possible with the help of the compass integrated in modern smartphones.
NFC stands for Near Field Communication. Based on RFID, this technology is also an international transmission standard for wireless data transmission over short distances. Data is exchanged via electromagnetic induction using loosely coupled coils and at a maximum transmission rate of 424 kBit/s. Since the maximum range of 10 cm is even shorter than with RFID, for example, the strengths of the technology lie less in the area of positioning than, for example, in mobile payment and contactless access controls.
On-Prem / on-premises
Often erroneously also on-premise. On-prem means software that runs locally or refers to a licensing model for server-based computer programs. It is only since local use has increasingly been replaced by Software as a Service (SaaS) or Cloud Computing that the opposite term to “cloud-based” has emerged. In the area of RTLS, on-prem solutions are relevant above all for self-sufficient use on cruise ships and where the user attaches great importance to data security.
POI / Point of Interest
Points of interest can be points or zones within the Bluetooth sensor infrastructure for which visitors to the building or area are to receive special information or other content. In the case of static assets, the associated information can be limited to the location. For example, all fire extinguishers can be entered into the indoor map so that they can be found by service teams at any time. Points of Interest can also be shops or restaurants. In this case, certain offers may be triggered when a visitor is nearby. The text of the offers can be changed flexibly and easily at any time and adapted to special needs via the Commander platform frontend.
RFID means radio-frequency identification. This technology especially strong in logistic applications enables automatic and non-contact identification and static location. An RFID system consists of a transponder and a reader. Data can be stored on the transponder – also called radio tag or RFID tag. In typical RFID applications such as access control or in warehousing and logistics, the range is typically 0.5 to 3 meters.
RSSI stands for Received Signal Strength Indicator and describes a method for calculating the position with the help of BLE signals. The term beaconing is also used similarly. RSSI is the standard positioning method in many IPS and RTLS. With RSSI, accuracies of 1 to 3 meters are achieved. For this accuracy the term ” room accuracy” is also used analogously. The method is sufficient to even realize indoor navigation in buildings.
Short for Real Time Location System. The abbreviation followed location-based services and is used especially for the use of location-based services in industrial environments. Here in particular for tracking solutions, both for asset tracking and people tracking. In addition, the term is not limited to indoor environments.
A software development kit (SDK) is a collection of program code (parts). These program code components can be integrated into already existing programs. Favendo’s services (Asset Tracking, Proximity Marketing, Positioning / Navigation, Analytics) can be quickly and easily integrated into third-party systems as SDKs.
The UUID (Universally Unique Identifier) is a common standard identifier in software development. With the aid of the UUID all beacons of a network can be identified. For example, under the UUID, all beacons are grouped together under the control of a specific operator of shopping centers. The Major ID then designates all beacons within a certain shopping center, the Minor ID a specific beacon within the shopping center.
UWB stands for Ultra Wideband and, like BLE, denotes a short-range radio technology suitable for RTLS. With the help of UWB a very precise positioning is possible. The costs for the hardware and for setting up the sensor infrastructure considerably exceed the costs for a BLE system. In addition, such a high level of granularity is only required in a few industrial applications. For applications that require extremely high positioning accuracy, Favendo works together with AoA market leader Quuppa.
The abbreviation for Wireless Local Area Network refers to a local radio network for data transmission. WLAN can also be used for positioning. The accuracy of the positioning is between five and 15 meters. Under ideal conditions, a location of 0.5 m would be possible. However, these are never achieved in practice.
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