As some of our followers might know, the noteacons TRACK team is working with Rasberry Pis to track BLE tagged assets and people who are carrying a Bluetooth beacon. Pis are just one of the asset tracking hardware options we have available. As they are not designed specifically for asset tracking, Raspberry Pis have their share of limitations. They are not built for anything close to reliable triangulation and are better used for projects that just need predefined zones or knowing when someone or something is entering or exiting.

That said, with the flexibility of using Pis on the hardware side, we can quickly overcome a lot issues – especially when a project is in a pilot or proof of concept stage. For example, with Pis, it’s relatively easy to not just send the location data over the internet or ethernet, but also via long-range protocols such as LoRa. This is helpful in industrial environments where internet coverage is minimal. Not only is there more flexibility, but the costs for pis are quite low as well which open up more cost-effective business cases.

We were therefore pretty excited about the new upgrades.

-They now have support for Power over Ethernet. So you can get them communicating and being powered by the same cable. If you’ve ever deployed hardware at scale, you know the less wires, the better. According to the Pi team, they will launch a PoE HAT which can generate the 5V needed.

-This ethernet connection is also faster. Very helpful if you need security alerts sent quickly and/or you are comparing Pi signals.

-Dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2 means relatively low power and high performance.

-They have certified the entire board as a radio module under FCC rules

-They have been built for better and more sustained deployments, especially with temperature control in mind. This is great news for large-scale, long-term deployments.

In sum, if you’re interested in Bluetooth asset tracking, Pis are worth considering as an inexpensive means of validating use cases. Now with these improvements, they are even better equipped for full-scale deployments.

If you’re thinking through an asset or people tracking project, we’re more than happy to talk!

Read more on about the new Pi the Raspberry Pi site.