Written by: Jason Spight
There are numerous technologies used to provide machine-to-machine communications for asset tracking. There are several reasons why we have chosen to go with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) over Global Positioning System (GPS) or Radio-Frequency Identification(RFID).
A Brief Technology Background
Before explaining our preference, a bit of background to understand your options.
Each of these technologies has strengths and weaknesses, so we used a decision matrix to determine which would be the best solution for our customers.
A Simple Decision Matrix
Our product objective was to provide a platform for real time asset tracking by partnering with device manufacturers.
We evaluated several trackers by using the following variables.
Here were the results.
Figure 1-1: Technology Decision Matrix
While RFID was the lowest cost, the lack of additional features immediately eliminated the RFID option. Our remaining focus was comparing BLE against GPS.
Analyzing the results from Figure 1-1. The following are the major difference between the BLE and GPS trackers we tested.
The cost factor between BLE and GPS was now negligible. To align our vision with BLE, we took the following into account.
When we began looking for the right solution for our needs, there were three types of technologies that we considered as the basis for our asset tracking. By taking a closer look at the cost, features, and requirements of the three technologies, we were able quickly eliminate RFID because it was not versatile enough for what we wanted to offer customers. With BLE and GPS devices left, we examined what each had to offer beyond cost. Though GPS was cost effective and offered some of the features we wanted to provide our customers, it was limited in how those features could be used.
Ultimately, BLE offered a cost-effective means of providing the greatest number of options to our customers. The fact that it could also be used from mobile devices ensures that it was going to be our final choice. With so many people increasingly conducting business and tracking from mobile devices, we wanted to ensure that our offering would meet the needs of the way most people do business. With reliable tracking abilities, BLE allows us to offer the best asset tracking solution to our customers.