18 May Indoor Tracking Using Beacons or RFID – What Are the Differences? 2 MIN READ May 18, 2016 By Gina Wurms hardware |RFID|, |beacons| 0 Frequently, clients or prospective customers ask us which tracking hardware we would recommend for indoor positioning: beacons or RFID. As always, it depends on the requirements and circumstances on site. However, in most cases the decision is pro beacons, because RFID is not suitable for extensive indoor positioning but rather for selective object identification. Advantages and disadvantages of beacons and RFID in indoor tracking projects Active and passive RFID tags need a reader on every point where the position has to be determined. Since readers are relatively expensive, it is not possible to install them across the whole area. Thus, it is only possible to determine the position at a few points (for example: “The object has passed hall no. 10”). Whereas, when an object or person is equipped with a beacon, the position can be determined in real time, for example with infsoft Locator Nodes. You can even see the whole itinerary. Beacons work with Bluetooth Low Energy which can be received by all modern smartphones, unlike RFID. With beacons, it is possible to do client-based and server-based positioning. Client-based means that position determination happens on the device (smartphone). For this, an app is required which messages can be sent to (back channel). Server-based positioning means that Bluetooth beacons send signals which are detected by hardware (infsoft Locator Nodes) and passed on to a server. An app is not necessary. RFID does not allow automatic indoor positioning or navigation. A typical use case is tracking wares in a large storehouse. There are some pre-defined points with RFID readers which an object passes by. The reader identifies the object and receives the information “Ware XY has passed checkpoint 5”. When using beacons and Locator Nodes, it is possible to get the current position in real time and with an accuracy of less than 5 meters. In addition, you see the whole itinerary of the object. In summary, it can be said that beacons are a technology which is more flexible and more powerful. But in some simple use cases, RFID tags can be a favorable alternative. If you have questions concerning indoor tracking, please contact us. Get the white paper for free Great introduction to the topic of indoor positioning Download Related Articles Indoor Positioning and Indoor Navigation Using Wi-Fi Positioning using GPS does not work reliably inside buildings as there is no visual contact with the GPS satellites. A good alternative is indoor positioning using Wi-Fi. An additional advantage compared to GPS is the possibility to determine the current floor level. Read More Indoor Navigation & Indoor Positioning Using Bluetooth Indoor navigation & indoor positioning using Bluetooth - learn more about the pros & cons. Read More "Indoor GPS" - Techniques for Indoor Positioning Without Using GPS Techniques for indoor positioning without using GPS - learn more about Indoor GPS in our blog. Read More Indoor Navigation with Android and iOS Devices – What Are the Differences and Fields of Application? Indoor navigation with Android and iOS devices – what are the differences and fields of application? Read More Technologies for Server-Based Indoor Positioning Compared: Wi-Fi vs. BLE vs. UWB vs. RFID There is a variety of technologies on which server-based indoor positioning systems can be based – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (Beacons), UWB and RFID. Read More Object Identification Using RFID RFID is one of the most versatile technologies in the field of indoor localization and can be used in nearly every industry. Read More Comments are closed.