Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) have emerged as a game changer, enabling organisations to precisely track and manage their assets, personnel and processes in real time.

What is RTLS?

RTLS stands for Real Time Location Systems, referring to a set of technologies used to identify, locate and track objects or people in a defined area in real time. The system uses a combination of hardware and software components to provide accurate positioning and tracking information. It also enables organisations to make informed decisions, increase operational efficiency and improve overall safety.


Basic Components of RTLS


RTLS relies on small electronic devices, commonly known as tags or transponders, attached to or embedded in objects or individuals to be tracked. These tags emit unique identifiers. It includes various technologies such as RFID, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or ultra-wideband (UWB).


Readers are strategically placed throughout the tracking area to capture signals from the tags. These receivers collect the location data transmitted by the tags. They also send it to the central software for processing.

RTLS Software:

The software component forms the heart of the RTLS system. It receives data from readers, processes it and provides real-time location information. The software includes mapping interfaces, data analytics tools and integration capabilities with other enterprise systems.

How Does RTLS Work?

It is based on the principle of trilateration or triangulation to determine the position of tags within a defined area. Trilateration involves measuring the time it takes for signals to travel between tags and readers. It then allows the system to calculate the distance between them. By using multiple readers and applying mathematical algorithms, the software can accurately determine the location of a tag in real time.


RTLS Applications

Health Services:

RTLS plays a vital role in healthcare facilities by monitoring medical equipment, supplies and personnel. It improves patient safety. It optimises workflow and reduces time spent searching for critical assets. RTLS also enables effective patient tracking and monitoring, improving staff response times and overall quality of care.

Logistics and Supply Chain:

In the logistics industry, RTLS facilitates inventory management, shipment tracking and warehouse operations. It provides real-time visibility into the movement of goods. It reduces stock-outs and improves supply chain efficiency. It also prevents valuable items from being lost or stolen, enabling better asset utilisation.


RTLS monitors equipment utilisation by tracking work in progress. Thus, it improves production processes by optimising workflows. By providing real-time asset tracking, it reduces downtime and increases productivity. The system also ensures compliance with security protocols. Thus, it increases security by preventing unauthorised access to dangerous areas.


RTLS is revolutionising the retail industry by enabling precise inventory management, personalised customer experiences and efficient store operations. It facilitates real-time shelf monitoring. It also ensures accurate stock levels and reduces out-of-stocks. RTLS can also be used for targeted advertising and analysing customer behaviour.

Challenges and Future Trends

While RTLS offers many advantages, there are also challenges to consider, such as the need for infrastructure deployment, label battery life and data privacy concerns. However, advances in technology are continually overcoming these challenges and delivering better accuracy, longer tag battery life and enhanced security.

The future of RTLS looks promising with new technologies such as UWB and IoT integration further increasing its capabilities. Integration of RTLS with other systems such as ERP or Artificial Intelligence (AI) will provide more advanced analytical and predictive capabilities.

To summarise, RTLS has revolutionised tracking and location services in various industries. Utilising tags, readers and advanced software, the technology provides real-time visibility into assets, personnel and processes, improving efficiency, productivity and security. With ongoing technological advancements, it is poised to play a much more significant role in shaping the future of tracking and location services, driving innovation and optimisation across multiple industries.