Event Analytics Using Bluetooth Power versus RFID

Event Analytics Using Bluetooth Power versus RFID


Winning Analytics with Bluetooth


BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) powered beacons are a superior technology for capturing traffic and behaviour analytics and conferences and events.  Ease of use, accuracy, coverage, privacy and versatility are some of the advantages BLE has over RFID and NFC.

High Function, Low Complexity

BLE can provide a wide range of functions, from simple monitoring to interactive sessions.  Passive technology like RFID cannot support interactive monitoring, while NFC works only over a very short range.  BLE is also ubiquitous; BLE receivers can be found in every smartphone.  As a result, BLE requires less infrastructure at a lower cost due to a large volume of devices.  BLE solutions are also easier to integrate and present more options for scaling a deployment.  Panvista has already implemented a scalable relay solution to simplify setup and lower the cost of setup.

Very Accurate with Options for Coverage

RFID has a very short range (less than 1 meter) and the range for NFC is even shorter.  BLE can cover up to 50 meters but also down to 3 meters.  Trade show spaces are large spaces, and BLE provides the wide array of coverage to accommodate booth and sponsor areas of all shapes and sizes.  Passive RFID is very accurate (less than 1 foot) but will not cover the required larger range of most trade show areas unless a very large number of reader hardware is used.  This is not a practical solution due to high cost and complexity of deployment.

Efficient, Secure and Private

Passive RFID offers the lowest energy profile, but at the expense of limited range and without comprehensive monitoring; it will register people only in close proximity to the booth.  Therefore, it will not report accurate dwell time.  It may miss attendee presence all together unless the system uses a large number of RFID readers to cover the area.  A fair assessment would be to compare BLE with active RFID.  In this case, BLE offers better energy efficiency – the “LE” stands for low energy.  Regarding security and privacy, BLE does advertise presence in an open space.  Panvista mitigates this risk at the application level by using encrypted tags with a rolling key provided by an external server.

BLE Wins at Versatility

Compared to BLE, all RFID solutions are proprietary.  The systems target specific applications and the development is limited to specific functions as the resources are limited in general to one installation.  BLE however, is an open standard with several players in the space and a number of new features and applications that grows by the day.  This makes BLE quite attractive.  A provider like Panvista can leverage the community effort to add new features to its offering at a very low cost.  This large community then, is one where the players foster innovation (e.g. options like one-to-one transactions, broadcast messages or group interaction).