5 Real Time Location System Implementation Best Practices

Here’s how you can make the most of your RF, active or passive tagging systems to track people and assets.

3.) Integrate and interoperate with third-party systems. At the heart of campus applications is safety and security. It is incumbent on the system that it works with communications beyond the typical workstation. In the event of an emergency, security personnel will want to be able to track people and even property through their mobile devices and provide messaging through various technology including texting, pager, intercoms and email. The system should be designed to support this level of interoperability.

Additionally, the integration of video becomes important, especially when tracking a person in duress. Having the ability to receive an emergency call, locate that person and then have the integrated security camera show them in their current location and situation is a critical part of a life-safety system. Further necessitating the need for video integration is its use as a tool for post-incident analysis for forensic purposes.

4.) Guarantee indoor/outdoor capability. Life-safety incidents can occur outside the confines of a building outfitted for RTLS tracking. School and hospital campuses include outdoor spaces such as ball fields, parking lots, courtyards and pathways between buildings, and these locations still require protection. A system that is functional outdoors is important to extending the life-safety capability. Choose a system that is not solely reliant on any technology that may limit its outdoor functionality.

All the components of the RTLS should be designed to withstand the elements that are specifically common to the geographic area, such as extreme cold and snow or high humidity, heat and rain.

There should also be assurances that the infrastructure will support the system during power outages, which may involve installing solar power or microwave towers in place of a wired system.

Campuses are often characterized by an open and expansive layout. The RTLS system should have the capability to work with its own invisible perimeter in place of actual physical barriers or help minimize the number of necessary barriers.

5.) Support emergency assembly stations. During major emergencies, building occupants are required to meet in a designated area known as an assembly or muster station so first responders know who or at least how many people are still at risk within a building.

An RTLS should support emergency responses through its ability to account for individuals on property. Within a school, each teacher may be equipped with an RTLS-enabled badge that allows those operating the system to promptly record the teacher’s arrival at the assembly point. The teachers may also arrive with students, thereby allowing the system to identify and be alerted of all individuals at the station. Once safely at the assembly point, the teacher can inform responders of any missing individuals.

Equipping each person with an RTLS-enabled badge can be cost-managed when an institution uses RTLS for multiple purposes, such as access control or in conjunction with a food service point-of-sale system.

As uses for RTLS expand, such as adding the tracking of students attending after-school programs, the investment advantages in RTLS become more apparent.

Should concerns regarding privacy or complaints of having every movement tracked arise, RTLS systems can be selected with options to block regular tracking and instead be deployed only in the event of an emergency.

As RTLS continues to evolve through technological breakthroughs, reviewing these best practices will help in selecting the appropriate RTLS for your campus’ securi
ty and life-safety purposes.

Mohsen Hekmatyar is the Director of Sales for the Elpas brand of Tyco Security Products, a provider of real-time location systems technology.

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