Ultra-Wideband RTLS for Warehouse Operations and Asset Tracking

Client

Confidential

Location

USA

Industry

Warehouse and Inventory Management

Our client had implemented a Bluetooth-based tracking system for inventory and personnel within their IoT ecosystem. Seeking improved accuracy in item localization, they decided to transition to a solution using Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology. The primary challenge was to replace the existing Bluetooth system with UWB technology, ensuring the new system maintained high levels of efficiency and reliability.

Company’s Request

An asset and visitor tracking system using Bluetooth was already in place at our client solution. To increase the precision of object location, our client attempted to create a solution based on Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology. The biggest challenge was to switch from Bluetooth to UWB while keeping the tracking system's effectiveness and dependability.

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Technology Set

Ultra-Wideband (UWB)

Tag and Anchor Topology

Time Difference of Arrival (TDoA) Algorithm

UDP

C Programming Language

Altium Designer

MATLAB/Simulink

Our team developed a UWB-based real-time location system (RTLS) using a multi-antenna approach, combining hardware and software into an integrated platform. This solution caters to a variety of indoor tracking applications, including asset tracking, material flow management, and employee location monitoring within a warehouse environment.

In our RTLS implementation, Tags emit UWB signals which are picked up by devices known as anchors. The tags are designed to operate in a low power mode and initiate updates to system parameters, achieved through occasional communications with the anchors. Communication between a tag and an anchor is established when a tag sends a packet containing a data frame, setting a ‘systemRequest’ flag. This signals the tag’s readiness to receive a configuration packet from the anchor, which then times its transmission to ensure the tag’s receipt.

Anchors send UDP packets to a specified server address and are also configured to receive UDP packets from the server. Gathering multiple reports from different anchors enables the server to determine the location of the originating tag.

Value Delivered
  • Improved Accuracy: UWB technology significantly improved the accuracy of the object location compared to the previous Bluetooth-based system.
  • Efficient Power Usage: The solution’s low power mode operation allows the tag devices to work on a single battery charge for a long time (around 1-2 years), reducing the need for frequent battery replacements.
  • Versatile Indoor Tracking: The RTLS platform supports various indoor tracking use cases, providing value in a range of scenarios, from asset tracking to patient location tracking for safety reasons.
  • Real-Time Location Data: The system provides real-time location data, enabling efficient tracking and management of assets and people.
  • Scalable Solution: The solution is expandable to support more devices and cover bigger areas, giving the client long-term value.

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