Real-time locating systems, also sometimes referred to as real-time monitoring systems, are employed to automatically identify and monitor the position of people or objects in real time, typically within a large building or similar contained space. Some real-time locators are able to provide more advanced capabilities such as information on the velocity, height, and direction of an object as well as identifying surrounding obstacles. They can also be programmed to trigger additional sensors when certain criteria are met.

A primary use of real-time locating systems is for law enforcement agencies to easily and quickly identify, track, and direct police units to their designated destination. These systems are also being used in manufacturing environments for the same purpose. In essence, real-time tracking helps reduce labor costs, which can be mitigated by the use of automated systems.

Some main components of Real-time locating systems

There are four main components included in the real-time locating systems. These are a GPS (Global Positioning System), a computer network, a direct sequence spread spectrum modem, and a centralized control station. The GPS is part of the system that provides exact location information based on coordinates entered by the user, while the computer network and the central control station to help facilitate communications between the GPS and other components.

The GPS facility provides precise geographical location and position coordinate of the monitoring subject as long as the satellites are in line with the receiver. This is necessary in order to define a directed path between the GPS and the subject. The GPS facility needs to receive active RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) data from the user's active rfid transponder. This data is processed and stored by the computer network, which then transmits it to the remote monitoring site or to any other interested parties who request information on the subject.

Direct-sequence Spread Spectrum MCSM (Metal detection System for Mobile Assets) is the name of the computer network that the GPS tracks. It is designed to locate and track metallic objects. This technology was originally developed for the military but is now being used extensively by businesses for real-time locating systems. To determine a location, the tracking system receives microwave radio frequency signals from the asset and analyzes these signals. The resulting pose estimates the exact location.

Another component of the real-time locating systems is the satellite dish called the dish locator. The dish locator identifies radio frequency sources and their position relative to the satellite. This information is then processed using mathematical algorithms and is used to locate and track objects. In some cases, the dish locator can also detect and track objects that are in motion and moving. In addition, the dish locator helps determine the speed of moving objects by measuring how fast the source of radio frequency signals moves.

Real-time location systems have several applications in medical devices and patient care. Medical devices use them to monitor a wide area and identify the location of a particular patient. They are also used in the medical treatment process to assess a patient's condition. Such assessment is critical in case of emergency and during surgical operations and procedures. For example, CardioPulmonary Resuscitation or CPR, is a type of medical procedure that saves human lives by supplying oxygen to a patient suffering from respiratory arrest.

Real-time location and tracking of medical facilities are the need of the day. With the invention of Real-time Locating Systems and the related technology automatic identification and tracking of patients, medical staff and technicians are able to save thousands of dollars wasted on manual transfer of data from one location to another. This reduces the need for human errors and minimizes the risk of human injury or death on the part of medical staff and technicians. This is precisely why Real-time Locating Systems and associated technology are being implemented and are being used in many hospitals, clinics and other medical establishments world-wide. It will be interesting to see where this industry takes us in the near future.