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BLE tags conquer the market

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Many describe them as simple stickerless labels, but smart tags are gaining ground and becoming indispensable in many types of environments. For example, with the growth of pandemic-driven e-commerce, what would large warehouses and transport services be without the tags used to track products? In the industrial sector, smart tags can be adopted to keep track of products throughout the supply chain and also to inform customers about specifications. While in healthcare, tags help to monitor patients and hospital equipment.

In order to meet the demand of several segments, tag manufacturers are developing models capable of meeting specific requirements, such as cost, dimensions, and energy consumption. Considering this last issue, in particular, tags have followed the Bluetooth Low Energy Market (BLE) standard, part of Bluetooth version 4.0. The protocol values the minimum energy consumption of the device to which the tag is integrated.

To get an idea, the global market associated with BLE is expected to surpass US$16.7 billion by 2026 and show a compound annual growth rate of over 19.68% during the period 2021-2026. Surfing on this wave, three BLE tag models have emerged on the market recently.

One of them is a wearable, disposable tag that also stands as the world’s smallest BLE beacon and promises to help overcome challenges related to the safety of employees, patients, and attendees of large events. The novel Nano Tag was announced by the company Kontakt.io, which offers IoT solutions based on the Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) standard, aims to address the size and cost limitations of older generation RFID tags that prevented them from being truly disposable.

Kontakt.io’s BLE tag solution allows you to develop single-use beacons with a wearable format that expands the possibilities of use cases. In hospitals and laboratories, they help to ensure safety and even monitor the time to complete procedures. Already at large events, Nano Tag wristbands can be used to find lost people and better manage emergency cases. In intelligent buildings, Nano Tags wristbands allow, for example, to track visitors’ movements.

The new tag from Kontakt.io measures 23mm x 5.3mm, weighs 2g, and is waterproof. It is powered by a silver oxide battery, with up to three months of battery life, according to the manufacturer, making one transmission per second (1 Hz). Battery life can be extended to a year of operation with a lower refresh rate. It is compatible with Bluetooth 5.0.

Source: Kontakt.io

The Nano Tag unit is available for $4.99 to $7.99 from the Kontakt.io shop, the manufacturer’s channel network, and the Cisco IoT Device Marketplace.

More durability

If, rather than being disposable, your concern about tags is just the opposite – durability, the RSL10 Asset Tag from onsemi could be an interesting solution for asset tracking.

Battery life has been one of the main obstacles to smart tag adoption, particularly in the industrial sector. According to the manufacturer, the RSL10 Asset Tag can solve this impasse with its battery life of up to five years. The achievement is a result of the radio SoC’s low power consumption and enhancements to the tag’s firmware.

RSL10 Asset Tag is available with a set of BLE-compliant development tools and Quuppa intelligent location services. onsemi has also created an application that demonstrates the low-power capabilities in an asset tracking use case.

Source: onsemi

More accuracy for personal use

With more personal use in mind, Samsung also recently announced its Galaxy SmartTag+, featuring BLE and UWB (Ultra-WideBand, which operates at higher frequencies) technologies to offer more accurate location data. It also uses Augmented Reality to present visual guidance to help locate lost items using the smartphone’s camera.

According to Samsung, the Galaxy SmartTag+ can be attached to everyday items such as backpacks or keychains so that they can be easily and accurately located through the SmartThings Find service available on Galaxy devices. This solution also allows you to locate lost items on a map, even if you are somewhere far away, as the tags use BLE connectivity and the network capabilities of Galaxy devices. Additionally, SmartThings Find users can decide to opt-in by activating their Galaxy device to help others find their own tags or lost devices.

Samsung ensures that data gathered in the SmartThings Find app is encrypted and protected, so the location of the tags is not revealed to anyone other than its owner.

Surprisingly, the Galaxy SmartTag+ does more than just track items. It can also turn off your lamp, even after you’ve left the house, for example. Using the SmartThings app, you can choose between different functions you’d like to perform just by pressing the tag’s button.

Source: Samsung
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