Tool monitoring
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Why BLE-tracking is more efficient than RFID-tracking for tool management in the Construction industry

Written by
Sebastien De Grauwe

Many construction companies rely on RFID-tracking to track and manage their tools and equipment. However, a newer technology has been around for a few years now, and offers significant advantages over RFID: BLE (Bluetooth low Energy). Find out more in this article.

During the execution of a construction project, it can easily happen that tools are lost, stolen or misplaced. It is therefore essential to have a reliable tracking system to monitor the location of tools and equipment. BLE-based tracking systems are an excellent alternative to traditional RFID asset tracking systems.

What is BLE?

BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) is a wireless communication technology that enables devices to communicate with each other over short distances. It uses the same basic principles as traditional Bluetooth, but with much less energy. This makes it ideal for applications where energy efficiency is an important consideration, such as tool tracking.

How does a BLE tracking system for tools work?

Tool tracking with BLE is a method of tracking and managing tools and equipment using BLE trackers and an associated application. BLE trackers are installed in the tool or equipment and then communicate with an app on a smartphone or tablet. In this way, you can track the location of the tool or equipment in real time.

Curious about how a BLE-tracking system works? Read the article "How tool tracing works".

What advantages does BLE offer over RFID tracking?

1. Better precision

RFID-tracking often works with passive tags that are only detected when within range of an RFID reader. This is sufficient for applications where only the presence of an item needs to be verified. For example, to check whether a certain tool is in a certain place.

However, if you want to know the exact location of your tools, you're better off using BLE-tracking. This technology works with active trackers that emit a constant Bluetooth signal. In this way, a tool's location is determined much more accurately, even if it's in a confined space.

Active RFID trackers are also available, but if you want a lifespan comparable to that of BLE trackers, active RFID trackers are much bigger and more expensive.

2. Easy integration with mobile devices

Thanks to BLE technology, you can easily use your smartphone or tablet as a reader for your tool tracking system. This way, you don't need to buy separate BLE readers, and your employees can easily find all their tools with their own smartphone.

3. Lower costs

Active RFID trackers and readers are relatively expensive, especially if you need a lot of tags and readers to track your inventory of many tools. What's more, you have to replace the trackers regularly, which adds to the cost. BLE trackers are cheaper and generally last longer than RFID trackers. What's more, you don't need separate BLE readers, as you can easily monitor all your tools with your smartphone. In this way, you save considerably on the costs of your tool tracking system.

4. Greater reliability

Compared with RFID-tracking, BLE is much more reliable in construction environments, where many environmental factors can affect RFID operation. Think, for example, of metal structures and concrete walls. BLE is much less affected by this, so it works much better in an environment with many obstacles.

Conclusion: BLE vs RFID tracking

Are you looking for a reliable and affordable tool tracking system to easily and accurately track and manage your tools and equipment? If so, a BLE-based tracking system is a smarter choice than RFID tracking.

Get started now with free BLE tracking software from HeronTrack

HeronTrack is the ultimate BLE tracking tool for tracking, inventorying and managing all your tools. It makes tool management easier and faster. And it doesn't have to be complex or expensive at all. Our efficient, discreet sensor locates your tools, ensures their safety and schedules maintenance for less than 3 euros a month.

Would you like to start using HeronTrack's BLE tracking software today? Order your FREE version now at