Recent decades have seen the widespread adoption of short-range wireless communications, including wireless LANs (Wi-Fi), ultra-wideband (UWB) and RFID. All of these can be used as part of real-time location systems (RTLS). According to a new Research Brief from ABI Research, however, a preoccupation with the technologies alone is misplaced: a more useful concept is “real-time intelligence visualization” (RTIV), in which the technology becomes the means to an end, not the end itself.

What is RTIV? According to research director Michael Liard, “RTIV is not about the individual technologies. It is about the process and logic that end-users must embrace. That concept focuses on end-users seeing data (or the ‘intelligence’) and their tagged assets in new ways, with ‘real-time eyes.’”

RTIV involves the capture of real-time data (regardless of the technology), and the processing and synchronization of that data with back-end systems through defined rules. This leads to the creation of actionable business intelligence that is accessible to the relevant systems and people. It involves the establishment of alerts, alarms, actions, decisions and where required, audit trails and documentation. The result? Data that can provide a “smart enterprise-wide view” of tagged objects, assets, and personnel through wireless identification and location.

These competitive, yet complementary wireless technologies, approaches and solutions have historically been treated as independent silos, but they are now converging. In a growing number of end-user environments a combination of technologies is being used. For example, passive and active RFID may be used jointly for fixed and mobile asset tagging; Wi-Fi- and UWB-based RTLS solutions may be leveraged for hospital asset tracking; or a combination of GPS and active RFID may be employed for cargo tracking and security.

Whatever the technologies involved, Liard concludes, “The end (as well as the beginning) of real-time intelligence visualization must be the value propositions and business problems challenging end-users."

“RFID Meets Wi-Fi and UWB in the RTLS Space” focuses on the technologies, applications and development of the wireless identification and location systems commonly known as real-time locations systems (RTLS), and explores RTIV’s potential to multiply the usefulness of the data they collect.