LONDON — The European Patent Office has granted a patent covering the ranging method which enables Essensium NV to provide a combination of high accuracy and long range in its wireless real time location system (RTLS) products.
The Essensium (Leuven, Belgium) approach combines the benefits of both narrowband and wideband behaviour in a single wide-over-narrowband RF implementation.
Traditionally wireless RTLS technologies care split into two main subgroups, wideband and narrowband, depending on the radio frequency bandwidth used. Each approach has its own particular advantages and disadvantages.
Wideband methods, typically known as ultra-wideband (UWB), tend to yield highly accurate position detection, with a resolution down to 10s of centimeters, but support only a very limited distance between the tag and the readers. This limits their useful application to situations where items need to be tracked over a relatively small area, since a significant and expensive infrastructure of reader antennae needs to be added in order to cover larger areas.
Narrowband methods, typically known as Wi-Fi or received signal strength indication (RSSI) methods, tend to support much larger distances between the tracked item and the readers. This allows larger areas to be covered compared to UWB, with a more affordable infrastructure cost. These methods suffer from the disadvantage of having significantly lower resolution, allowing only to determine the position of a tag with a resolution of several meters at best, or even simply allowing only to identify the room, or zone, in which a particular tag is located.
Essensium says its technology RTLS implementation provides both the accuracy of a very precise UWB system combined together with long range, and thus lower infrastructure costs, better than that of typical narrowband or Wi-Fi methods for RTLS. This combination enables opportunities for track and trace applications, both indoors and outdoors.
Essensium is a fabless semiconductor company, created as a spin-off of the IMEC nanotechnology research center. It aims to combine expertise in custom silicon design for portable, wireless, and low power applications, along with a embedded software division, to provide system-on-chip products and design services to original equipment manufacturers, design houses, and ASSP suppliers.
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