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The Reply Tracking and Location System is a real-time localisation system created by Reply to automatically identify and monitor the position of objects and personnel across indoor environments or facility entrances.
The system has been designed by combining two radio technologies: Bluetooth (BLE) technology, capable of measuring distances to an accuracy of 1 metre, requiring low energy consumption; and Ultra Wide Band (UWB) technology, capable of distance accuracy to 1 centimetre, requiring higher energy consumption. The combination of these two technologies makes it possible to obtain high precision (accurate to 10cm and under), while keeping energy consumption low.
The flexibility of the tool can satisfy a range of different needs: from tracking and monitoring objects and employee movement, to highlighting high-risk areas and providing location-based services and content.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the system has been applied as a social distancing tool, thanks to the adoption of an easy-to-wear badge holder. The tool’s key features include:
• precise distance monitoring (accurate to 10cm and under)
• light, sound or vibration warnings when limits are exceeded
• customisable thresholds for distances and contact time frames using a centralised console
• statistics on movement and reporting of potential distance-related COVID breaches between individuals
• rechargeable battery compatible with USB power supply (recharge monthly)
• compliance with GDPR Regulations, with no storage of personal data.
The Reply Tracking and Location System has three main technological components: tags, gateways and the Cloud. Tags are small devices that can be worn by people or attached to objects. Tags communicate with other tags when nearby to determine their distance, and this information is stored locally.
Gateways enable communication between tags and the Cloud: when in nearby proximity to a tag the gateway obtains the tag’s locally stored data (using the UWB technology) and sends it to the Cloud via the IP Network.
The Cloud hosts the backend server, which stores the data collected in the field and the defined business configuration. The dashboard that facilitates the display of data and controls the configuration of tags is also housed in the Cloud.
The system facilitates the monitoring of interactions between people in the workplace, promptly identifying probable chains of infection. When two or more people are in proximity to each other, at a distance less than the minimum defined (in the configuration) and for a specific period of time, the tag (badge holder) generates a visual and audible alarm. The distance and time can be configured via the dashboard. Every time an alarm is triggered it is stored in the tag, and this data can then be analysed once it is uploaded to the Cloud through a gateway.
The data dashboard can show all the tags used, verify the firmware version installed on each tag, send firmware updates, extract all the contacts that have occurred in a given period of time and organise the badges into different groups based on different uses.
A solution for warehouse logistics as well as production settings. In the first case the system can be applied to recognise products entering or leaving the warehouse and monitor their position within it, providing a real-time inventory status.
In the second case, thanks to the automatic recognition of certain components, the solution makes it possible to reduce staff workload by affecting production processes. In the manufacturing sector, the possibility to track a physical asset enables companies to have a better understanding of the overall process, in order to discover effective utilization, reduce costs and improve delivery, leveraging the link between the physical and digital worlds.
The benefits of the system are clear for employee safety in emergency situations. By identifying individuals’ locations, the system can determine whether employees are present in secure, designated areas. Likewise, it is possible to warn individuals in real-time that they are entering a high-risk area (heavy machinery, fast moving vehicles etc.), using an audible alert.
The system can be used to send an alert if a worker falls, a present danger in the industrial and manufacturing industry (especially in areas where workers operate on their own). Thanks to the integration of a sensor on the device that can identify acceleration, the monitoring centre can be alerted in the event of a worker falling. Once the sensors detect any motion accompanied by extreme acceleration in any direction, the system assumes a fall has occurred and the tag generates a visual and audible alarm. The alarm code is captured by the gateway and sent to the Cloud. The user may report false alarms at any time by simply pressing a button.
In the realm of industrial automation, modern control systems are becoming increasingly complex in terms of information and content management. Consequently, it is increasingly difficult to select and display the correct content for operators. Location-based services make it possible to solve some of these problems, for example using a digital screen or mobile device to send personalised messages and content to operators based on location. The messages may relate to how to maintain a machine or how to use a product or tool.
Concept Reply is the Reply Group’s hardware and software development partner specialised in IoT innovation. Concept Reply offers solutions in the Smart Infrastructure, Industrial IoT and Connected Vehicle sectors, from the initial idea, through the conceptual phase to implementation, the operational phase and the support phase. The Company’s numerous IoT specialists cover all aspects: from hardware design and development, to software implementation in embedded environments, to edge computing software or Cloud-based applications.