| Written by Mark Buzinkay

If you're looking for a way to improve your operations' efficiency, consider implementing RTLS tracking technology. It can provide a wide range of benefits that will help you increase productivity, safety, and efficiency. RTLS tracking technology is a system that uses radio waves to track the precise location of objects or people in real time. It can be used for a variety of purposes, such as monitoring inventory levels, managing workplace safety, and streamlining operations.
RTLS tracking

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What is RTLS?

RTLS is a system that automatically identifies and tracks the location of objects or people in real-time, usually within a building or other contained area. Wireless RTLS tags are attached to objects or worn by people, and in most RTLS, fixed reference points receive wireless signals from tags to determine their location.

Some examples of where RTLS can be used include tracking automobiles through an assembly line, locating pallets of merchandise in a warehouse, or finding medical equipment in a hospital.

The physical layer of RTLS technology is often radio frequency (RF) communication. Some systems use optical (usually infrared) or acoustic (usually ultrasound) technology with, or in place of, RF. RTLS tags and fixed reference points can be transmitters, receivers, or both, resulting in numerous possible technology combinations.

RTLS are a form of local positioning system and do not usually refer to GPS or to mobile phone tracking. In addition, location information usually does not include speed, direction, or spatial orientation.

Learn more how RTLS solutions can streamline your factory production processes.


RTLS tracking use cases

Thiede, Sullivan, Damgrave, and Lutters state, "Real-time location systems (RTLS) allow a spatial and time-related tracking of objects in their environment. An increasing number of technologies and providers are available nowadays." They further explain, "Besides applications in e.g. healthcare and general logistics, RTLS bear also interesting potentials in context of factories. Some manufacturing-related use cases can already be found in research and industrial practice."(1)

So, RTLS can be used in a variety of settings to track the location of people or assets. It can be used in logistics to track tools or equipment, in healthcare to track patients or staff, and in security to monitor people or property. RTLS can also be used to improve process efficiency by automatically monitoring and time-stamping the progress of people or assets through a process. Additionally, RTLS can provide wayfinding for guests in a facility. Some benefits of using RTLS include reducing quarantine times after an infectious disease outbreak, more accurate data regarding who has been exposed to a virus, quicker and more automatic accounting for all staff during an emergency evacuation, and reduced hours spent storing manual reports and calling to locate staff and equipment.

Another common use case is for inventory management in warehouses or retail stores. By tracking the location of items, businesses can more easily keep track of their stock and ensure that items are where they are supposed to be. In the manufacturing sector, RTLS can be used to track tools and equipment, document output and streamline processes allowing for greater efficiency and productivity.

Another widespread use case for RTLS tracking technology is people tracking. This can be used for security purposes, such as keeping track of employees in a large building or managing events with many people. By knowing the location of everyone at all times, it is possible to manage crowd control and safety.

Further reading: RFID for asset tracking


Benefits of RTLS Tracking Technology

With RTLS for precise indoor tracking, you can transform your business into a highly efficient, powerful and streamlined operation. Using technology gives you what you need to gain accurate and actionable data and be more productive, cost-effective and safe.

RTLS tracking technology can eliminate search and idle times (like locating vehicles in the car park) to increase labour productivity, replace scanner & barcode and paper & pencil processes without any need for human interaction, give you control over mobile assets, connect unpowered assets to your ERP system, synchronize the actual production status with the production plan in real-time, and give you valuable insight into KPIs.

There are many benefits to using RTLS tracking technology in your business. Here are just a few:

  1. Improve productivity – By knowing the precise location of assets and personnel at all times, you can more efficiently utilize your resources and eliminate wasted time searching for things.
  2. Increase safety – With RTLS, you can quickly identify hazards and potential risks and take steps to mitigate them before they result in an accident or injury.
  3. Enhance customer service – Use RTLS to keep track of high-value items and ensure that they are always available when your customers need them.
  4. Reduce costs – Improve your bottom line by using RTLS to eliminate lost or stolen assets, minimize downtime, and optimize workflows.


Why should you trust RTLS tracking technology over others


Regarding tracking inventory, RTLS technology is the clear choice over other methods. Here's why:

  1. Accuracy - With RTLS, you can track inventory down to the specific location within your facility. This level of accuracy is crucial for knowing exactly where your products are at all times.
  2. Ease of use - RTLS tracking systems are designed to be user-friendly, so you can get up and running quickly and easily.
  3. Scalability - RTLS systems can be easily scaled up or down to meet the changing needs of your business.
  4. Cost-effective -RTLS systems are a cost-effective way to track inventory since they require no special infrastructure or investments in expensive hardware.
  5. Reliable - RTLS systems are designed for reliability, so you can be confident that your inventory data is always accurate and up-to-date.


What to look for when choosing RTLS tracking technology

When choosing RTLS tracking technology, several factors must be considered to ensure that the system is best suited for your business needs (2).

Gladysz and Santarek state, "Real Time Locating System has become an important part of supporting technologies applied in a wide range of logistics related to many sectors and branches, as warehousing, manufacturing or healthcare offering real-time visibility of assets. It increases asset utilization. RTLS is a very wide term covering many different specific technologies."

They further explain, "The use of a specific technology affects achieving different performance metrics. Therefore, the selection of a specific technology (or mix) is a multi-criteria decision-making problem."

One of the most important factors is accuracy. The system should be able to precisely track objects and people to provide accurate data. Another essential factor is the system's range. The system should have a wide enough range to cover the entire area that you need to track.

Additionally, the system should be easy to use and set up so that you can get started using it quickly and efficiently. Finally, the cost of the system is also an important consideration. You will want to ensure the system is within your budget while still providing all of the features and benefits you need.

Besides these (general) factors, be sure to consider the following aspects before implementing a real time location system:

  • Is it a robust wireless IIoT device?
  • Does the installation interrupt ongoing operations?
  • Does it support open standards like omlox?
  • Helps it to standardize your processes while staying flexible?
  • Can it plug & play with your Production Management Software (PMS)?
  • Is it an ultra-low maintenance system with up to 10 years of battery life?
  • Do you have 24/7 remote support & service by a global support team from your supplier?
  • Is it providing a comprehensive reporting system?
  • Does it offer a seamless API-based integration with SAP EWM or similar?



RTLS tracking technology is invaluable for businesses of all types and sizes. It can be used for various purposes, such as monitoring inventory levels, managing workplace safety, and streamlining operations. By knowing the precise location of assets at all times, businesses can more efficiently utilize their resources and eliminate wasted time searching for things. Additionally, RTLS can help businesses reduce costs by optimizing workflows and eliminating lost or stolen assets.

If you're looking for a way to improve your business, consider implementing RTLS tracking technology. It can provide a wide range of benefits that will help you increase productivity, safety, and efficiency.

RTLS Solutions to streamline your production processes

Dive deeper into one of our core topics: Real Time Locating System


(1) Sebastian Thiede, Brendan Sullivan, Roy Damgrave, Eric Lutters. Real-time locating systems (RTLS) in future factories: technology review, morphology and application potentials, Procedia CIRP, Volume 104,
2021, Pages 671-676, ISSN 2212-8271, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procir.2021.11.113

(2) Gladysz, B.; Santarek, K. (2017): An Approach to RTLS Selection. In: 24th International Conference on Production Research (ICPR 2017); ISBN: 978-1-60595-507-0;

Note: This article was updated on the 27th of May 2024



Mark Buzinkay, Head of Marketing

Mark Buzinkay holds a PhD in Virtual Anthropology, a Master in Business Administration (Telecommunications Mgmt), a Master of Science in Information Management and a Master of Arts in History, Sociology and Philosophy. Mark