Access ControlFeatured

How RTLS asset management can enhance access control

Access control and security within buildings have become increasingly digitised in recent years. One of facility and operations management’s most pressing industry-wide concerns is maintaining complete security and visibility of assets and personnel as they move in and out of locations. Dakota Murphey highlights the benefits of Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS).

Additionally, when supply and demand are high, automation and technology need to be leveraged to allow facilities managers to confidently view assets and historical data in real time and make informed access decisions with increased confidence.

Navigating security challenges with real-time location systems

Facilities need robust access control systems in place so that assets and people can move laterally across a range of conditions and locations. But this proves increasingly difficult, depending on a facility’s layout, complexity, and size. Security companies in particular are grappling with the challenge of ensuring restricted access and real-time monitoring of individuals across zones, not to mention reducing cyber risk exposure through digitisation.

However, Real-Time Location System (RTLS) technology, a long staple of asset management in facilities, has also undergone recent shifts that fortify access control. Boasting a range of competent, reliable underlying hardware, RTLS products – as far as access control is concerned – are worth deploying for facilities of all sizes and complexities.

The real benefit nowadays is that no RTLS has to exist as a siloed solution for any given facility, which only adds to the technology’s versatility and diversity in access control and management. With the right infrastructure and network configuration of one or more RTLS hardware, facility security and visibility can be bolstered.

This short guide looks to break down the differences in hardware and deployment with some common RTLS technologies, along with how effective asset management through RTLS can elevate the overall stability of organisations embracing this cutting-edge tech.

Understanding RTLS technology

As statistics show, the global RTLS market is developing and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.5% from 2023 to 2028, earning a total volume of $16.2 billion. However, there is no universal technology that powers RTLS. Here are just some of those that can be used in an access control context.

1. Bluetooth

Bluetooth technology (or more recently, BLE – Bluetooth Low Energy – technology) has transcended its conventional role in wireless or device-to-device communication. In the context of access control, BLE’s simple infrastructure requirements (requiring only tags and beacons transmitting signals to receivers), low energy consumption and seamless integration with smartphones make it a cost- and energy-efficient choice to deploy.

Despite some minor considerations about its range of exposure, susceptibility to interference, and lower accuracy compared to WiFi or UWB, Bluetooth is stable enough for most single-unit premises.

2. GPS

Global Positioning System (GPS) offers unparalleled real-time geospatial accuracy, particularly when tracking inventory moving throughout facilities daily or for commodities shipped overseas.

While ideal for outdoor applications and multiple sites, its efficacy indoors is limited due to minor signal penetration issues. Therefore, it’s worth considering deploying a more reliable low-range solution when granting or restricting access to verified individuals, vehicles, or assets.

3. WiFi

WiFi-based RTLS leverages existing infrastructure to determine tracked asset locations, streamlining implementation and providing stable accuracy in real-time over a broad zonal area.

Though not as energy-efficient as BLE and prone to signal interference and disruption when foot traffic is high, WiFi requires minimal setup and can simply be enhanced with additional hardware to expand coverage. Most IoT (Internet of Things) asset and access management technology feeds off of WiFi connectivity.


Radio-frequency identification (RFID) has long been a staple in access control providing a new dimension to proximity access. It’s also widely used for asset monitoring in facilities, made easier by the line-of-sight accuracy of RFID tags and their easy interaction with one another to help determine positions easily.

Despite this, its relatively short range of coverage and complications when retrofitting make many facility managers seek alternatives for outdoor real-time monitoring. However, when deployed inside remote facilities, it’s invaluable for security.

5. UWB

Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology boasts exceptional precision and high interference resistance, making it a promising choice for RTLS applications requiring real-time coverage across indoor and outdoor areas.

However, one prominent concern about UWB asset tracking is its complex setup caused by additional time synchronisation and anchor nodes. However, this is quickly mitigated when initiating the services of asset management professionals.

Security benefits of integrated RTLS

When deploying any RTLS technology, oversight and analysis of its effectiveness are crucial. RTLS’ unique selling point is its real-time monitoring capability. While that’s a benefit in itself, organisations need to proactively and continually assess the technology’s accuracy and precision for their unique needs.

One of the features embedded in many RTLS applications is geofencing. This allows many firms to secure ‘sensitive’ or ‘restricted’ zones within buildings to control the movement of staff, providing data on the entering and exiting of certain zones, and real-time alerts for unauthorised access. When considering the right technology, consider the geofencing capabilities on offer that can enhance overall security.

Another inherent benefit of many enterprise-grade asset management solutions is their ability to provide top-level visibility of multiple assets using different hardware. Therefore, facilities that need multiple technologies to track assets of varying importance can achieve this with the right solution, and therefore gain all the insights they need to bolster security.

However, RTLS goes beyond access control, offering valuable insights into inventory management and historical data of employees’ movements. Efficient use of this technology’s insights ensures accountability, reducing the risk of loss or theft within a company premises, or indeed outside of it.

Put simply, organisations can leverage RTLS technology – and the real-time location data it dispenses – to make more informed security decisions. Success with RTLS-powered access control boils down to understanding the nuances of each technology and leveraging them strategically to improve security.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button