Indoor Positioning

How does Tracking Technology work?

Tracking people or asset is easier said than done.

Here’s a breakdown on the process for tracking technology:

The physical part of tracking are done by hardwares – IoT devices in essence. Devices like CCTVs or your mobile phones are doing the actual tracking- through various kinds of technologies. Here’s a list of technologies that can do location tracking:

  • Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Wireless Fidelity (WIFI)
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • Radio-frequency identification (RFID)

To help you understand; let’s say you’re using a mobile phone for location tracking, the GPS receiver on your mobile phone will receive signals from GPS satellites and do some calculations to get your exact position.

Now that is just an example of the process to obtain your raw position data, and each technologies works differently to calculate your raw position data.

So now that the calculations are done and you have your raw position data, how are you going to make sense of this information? There are tons of services and applications out there e.g. Google Maps that can take this information and make it useful. In the case of Google Maps, they will reflect your position information on their map application to help you navigate or give knowledge on your whereabouts visually.

Thus, the device must have a way to transmit your position data to the back-end cloud servers of whatever services or application you are using to make sense of your position data. And below is a list of possible communication methods that can be used for the data transmission:

  • Broadband Cellular network (3G, 4G, etc.)
  • LoRa
  • Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)
  • Sigfox

The rest of the work is then done by the back-end servers of the application which may or may not send information back to you depending on the purpose of the application.

Tracking Technology can be used for infinite purposes ranging from navigation aids to data collection and due to the COVID-19 pandemic now, Contact Tracing purposes.

Hence, tracking of assets and people is a complicated task. You have to take into account – the best tracking technology and data transmission method to use depending on the application that you will be using or requests of the client. Then the procurement of the hardware will have to follow suit; device has to be compatible with the tracking technology and data transmission method.


About William Tam

William is a business development manager for MWI. He has a diverse background in B2C sales and media production prior to joining MWI, and is now specializing in business management. He is responsible for leading the sales, marketing, and product development team.