How to compare different RTLS technologies?

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There are thousands of use cases for indoor positioning and dozens of ways to do it. Choosing the right technology is a multisided task

First, evaluate your needs and wishes today and in the future, and then compare all the possible solutions. What is the right choice? Obviously, there’s no one correct answer to that.

We at Quuppa have been developing our technology for more than a decade and have tested quite a few other solutions along the way. Our customers have been testing a few dozen more, so it’s fair to say that together, we have a pretty good understanding of the subject.

This comparison is by no means complete or absolute, and to be honest, it’s probably also a bit biased, but we hope this helps in your decision-making. We’re always happy to discuss further, so please send us a message.

Comparison of radio-based indoor positioning technologies.

Confusing technology with methodology is a common misunderstanding. For example, Bluetooth®, WiFi, and UWB are radio technologies used in indoor positioning systems, whereas Angle-of-Arrival (AoA), Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI), Time of Flight (ToF) and Time Difference of Arrival (TDoA) are methods for determining the location. On top of these comes the actual beef: hardware, positioning algorithms, software tools, and services that make the final product.

The ultimate performance and features of the system – accuracy, robustness, scalability, versatility, usability, compatibility, cost, etc. – are a combination of all of these factors.

WiFi /
Active RFID
Developed for positioningYesYesYesNoSome profiles
Accuracy0.1–1 m0.1–1 m0.1–1 m5–20 m5–20 m
Tag power consumptionVery lowVery HighLowHighHigh
Smartphone compatibleYesNoNoYesYes
IoT GatewayYesNoNoYesNo
Cost of setupMediumMediumVery HighMediumLow
Cost of OwnershipLowMediumVery HighMediumLow

Any other options?

Sure, several non-radio technologies are used for indoor positioning, including optical, acoustic, inertial, and magnetic, all of which may have their possible use cases.

If absolute accuracy is the main criterion, camera-based solutions are hard to beat – however, the costs are going to be very high, and they can’t, for example, easily identify the tracked objects. Conversely, if using infrastructure is not an option, some kind of indoor navigation can be done using e.g. inertia or magnetic field-based solutions, keeping in mind that the expectations for accuracy, reliability, and general usability must be adjusted accordingly.

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