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Real-time Locating System - RTLS


Real-time locating systems (RTLS) are used to automatically identify and track the location of objects or people in real time, usually within a building or other contained area. Wireless RTLS tags are attached to objects or worn by people, and in most RTLS, fixed reference points receive wireless signals from tags to determine their location.


Examples of real-time locating systems include tracking automobiles through an assembly line, locating pallets of merchandise in a warehouse, or finding medical equipment in a hospital.

The physical layer of RTLS technology is usually some form of radio frequency (RF) communication, but some systems use optical (usually infrared) or acoustic (usually ultrasound) technology instead of or in addition to RF. Tags and fixed reference points can be transmitters, receivers, or both, resulting in numerous possible technology combinations.


RTLS are a form of local positioning system, and do not usually refer to GPS, mobile phone tracking. Location information usually does not include speed, direction, or spatial orientation.


RTLS can be used numerous logistical or operational areas such as:
1. locate and manage assets within a facility, such as finding a misplaced tool cart in a warehouse or medical equipment
2. notification of new locations, such as an alert if a tool cart improperly has left the facility
3. to combine identity of multiple items placed in a single location, such as on a pallet
4. to locate customers, for example in a restaurant, for delivery of food or service
5. to maintain proper staffing levels of operational areas, such as ensuring guards are in the proper locations in a correctional facility
6. to quickly and automatically account for all staff after or during an emergency evacuation
7. To automatically track and time stamp the progress of people or assets through a process, such as following a patient's emergency room wait time, time spent in the operating room, and total time until discharge. Such a system can be used for process improvement
8. clinical-grade locating to support acute care capacity management


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