As the IoT phenomena has taken the world by storm, the breadth of locationing and identification technologies has increased rapidly alongside it. Solutions that were mature but somewhat under the radar for most organisations, are now more visible and making transformational impact for many companies. Eveatec continually investigates the breakthrough technologies that will impact our core markets and has embraced several standout technologies that are clearly beneficial to our core markets.
Passive RFID – UHF, NFC, HF, LF
Passive RFID is essentially a tag that has no battery but instead gets its power from the RF energy from the device trying to read its data. There are several key technologies in this space that each offer something different to the practicality of the applications that use them.
Our focus is primarily in the UHF spectrum as the global standards allow for high density, high speed reading of RFID tags over distances from 0.1 – 20+ metres. The lack of battery helps to keep prices down, but the application needs may force additional considerations such as mounting on metal or encapsulation to protect the tag.
These are now mostly very mature technologies, allowing for a standards based approach with a wide range of products and solutions available.
Active RFID – BLE, UWB, etc
There are a wide variety of active RFID technologies available in the market today, some of which are very mature. They are battery powered tags (hence the “active” definition) with max read ranges from 20-200m. Our focus in this space is guided by 3 main concepts – accuracy, lifespan and tag price.
Ultra-Wide Band technology can be used to get positional accuracy of 30-50cm in a suitably configured environment, something that can have importance in manufacturing WIP processes and secure area monitoring for people tracking. There are different tag types/formats available to cater for the different use cases it is predominantly used for.
Bluetooth Low Energy is becoming more and more significant in this market too as new technology allows it to be used for locationing as well. Different use cases and technologies exist to allow either the simple beacon identification approach or a more complex locationing approach.
M2M & IoT
M2M – machine to machine – technology has been around for many years, living primarily of standard cellular technologies such as GPRS, however such technologies are very power hungry making it difficult to get tags with sufficiently long battery life to make tracking practical. The increased focus on IoT has given rise to several technologies that are designed to be very simple in their operation, can communicate over several km and have very low power consumption – eg LoRaWAN, Sigfox, NB-IoT. These technologies allow for the creation of a battery powered tag that can last for several years between recharges. When you then build in sensors such as GPS, accelerometer, temperature, humidity, etc that can add a lot more value to the tag and the data it gathers, you can quickly get significant insights into your business operations.
While we currently focus on the core technologies identified above, we are continuously evaluating new and exciting tracking tools that would benefit clients in our target markets.