What is a Bluetooth Badge? How is it different from RFID and NFC?

June 26, 2024
5 Min.
What is a Bluetooth Badge? How is it different from RFID and NFC?

Construction companies are using advanced technology to improve safety and productivity on job sites and streamline collaboration between workers. Bluetooth badges, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and NFC (Near Field Communication) are some of these innovations. All these technologies are useful in their own way and are essential in improving project management and workforce safety. 

Imagine a construction site where everything runs smoothly and workers are safe. Bluetooth badges achieve this using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology for location tracking, health status, and security. These badges use relatively low energy and include short-range connectivity. They are ideal for large construction sites where oversight and safety are top priorities.

What is a Bluetooth Badge?

A Bluetooth ID badge is a wearable device equipped with Bluetooth technology, typically Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It serves multiple functions beyond traditional identification. BLE is a wireless communication technology for short-range communication with low power consumption. It was introduced as part of the Bluetooth 4.0 specification. 

BLE allows devices such as thermometers, heart rate monitors, smartwatches, and sensors to transfer data via wireless channels with other devices. These devices use small batteries that last a long time. These ID badges enhance security by allowing access control to restricted areas based on proximity or authentication protocols. 

Similarly, construction companies can use these badges to locate workers and subcontractors within any facility via a built-in wireless Bluetooth transmitter. Bluetooth badges transmit signals to nearby Bluetooth receivers or smartphones. Unlike traditional ID badges, Bluetooth doesn’t require Wi-Fi connections or frequent charging.

Benefits of Bluetooth Badges in Construction

Bluetooth badge technology has several benefits, such as long battery life, low power consumption, and the ability to operate over considerable distances, often reaching up to 100 meters.

Here are some key features of Bluetooth Badges: 

  • Real-Time Location Tracking: Bluetooth badges can track the location of workers on-site in real-time. It helps secure workers' safety by monitoring their movements and ensuring they are not in restricted or hazardous areas.
  • Long battery life and low power consumption: Bluetooth badges are designed for extended use with minimal need for battery replacements. In most cases, the badges don't need to be charged and last for 2-3 years without replacement.
  • Safety Alert: The badges can send distress signals and panic alerts to workers if they enter dangerous zones or emergencies. It increases worker safety by sending and receiving alerts and access control. It also detects motions including falls from the high places.
  • Health Monitoring: Some badges can monitor vital signs and alert supervisors to potential health issues. They are used for monitoring blood pressure.
  • Access Control: Bluetooth badges can also function as access control devices that only allow authorized personnel to enter specific areas. The badge connects with external technologies such as turnstiles and doors. 
  • Track activity: Using the Bluetooth badges passively logs time and attendance and other activity data of the construction sites. 
You Must Also Read:- Digital Twins in Construction

What is RFID in Construction?

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has become integral to the construction industry. They offer strong solutions at different levels or phases of a building starting from its construction. It comes in the form of tags and readers and works by using radio frequencies to send and receive information into tags. There are active, passive, and semi-passive versions of these tags, which determine the system’s working range and power consumption. 

In construction applications, RFID is used in the management of assets, tracking of inventory, and the safety of the workers. It allows for quick and accurate tracking of material, employees, or equipment locations to enhance site operations and resource management. Employees can wear RFID tags to track their mobility and working hours for enhanced organizational visibility and safety standards.

What is NFC in Construction?

Near-field communication (NFC) is a convenient wireless technology for construction. Wired NFC includes tags through which secure wireless communication between nearby devices is possible. This makes it easier for the workers to use NFC tags to check on the quantity and types of materials required and avoid wastage.

NFC technology helps to monitor on-site inventory and equipment usage at the same time on a real-time basis. For example, a quick scan of a tag gives the workers necessary information, such as inspection records of certain equipment or certifications. Likewise, the tags on hard hats ensure easy access to the safety records of the workers in case of emergencies eliminating time-consuming accountability processes. This technology enables workers to record progress quickly by scanning tags with their devices. It helps to minimize errors and expedite documentation.

What is the Difference Between a Bluetooth Badge, RFID, and NFC?

Today, construction companies employ Bluetooth badges, RFID, and NFC technologies in their construction processes to optimize the outcomes and secure their facilities. Bluetooth badges are based on Bluetooth Low Energy for real-time location and messaging, RFID is based on radio frequencies for long-range identification and asset control, and NFC for short-range interaction like authorization.

In construction, these technologies increase safety and management by providing identification and tracking solutions appropriate to field environments.

While Bluetooth badges, RFID, and NFC all serve the purpose of tracking and communication, they have distinct differences that make them suitable for different applications in the construction industry. 

Below is the difference table:

Features Bluetooth Badge RFID NFC
Technology Utilizes Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology Uses radio frequencies for identification and data transfer A type of RFID that operates at a very short range
Communication range 10- 50m depending on BLE power and environment A few inches to several feet depending on RFID frequency Very short, typically less than 20 cm
Operating frequency 2.4 GHz ISM spectrum band (2400 to 2483.5 MHz) Low Frequency (LF): 30 KHz to 500 KHz High Frequency (HF): 3 MHz to 30 MHz Ultra-High Frequency (UHF): 300 MHz to 960 MHz The frequency range centered on 13.56 MHz
Data transfer Two-way communication possible Primarily one-way communication (tag to reader) Two-way communication is possible but with limited data capacity
Construction use cases Worker Tracking, Time and Attendance tracking with automated clocking in/out, store worker certifications Asset Tracking, Access control, Inventory Management Tool checkout/Return

Why Should Construction Sites Adopt Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Technology?

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology is perfect for construction because it is energy-efficient, has a long battery life, and offers strong connectivity. BLE uses the same 2.4 GHz radio frequencies as classic Bluetooth, but it uses less power consumption. BLE devices like Bluetooth badges can run for years on a single battery, reducing maintenance and ensuring continuous operation.

Construction companies can use BLE for tracking assets and equipment using smartphones with built-in Bluetooth. It allows precise location tracking, inventory management, and monitoring of equipment usage. BLE tags have a good scanning range and long battery life, making them ideal for large indoor settings like construction sites. It supports two-way communication and allows reliable data transfer and interaction with main systems. It’s also compatible with existing technologies like Wi-Fi and GPS. It is cost-effective with minimal infrastructure needs.

You Must Also Read:- Workforce Operating System

Transform Workforce Safety with Kwant's Bluetooth-Integrated Smart Badges

Kwant’s smart badges are bringing changes in the construction industry’s workforce management by utilizing technologies like Bluetooth, GPS, LoRaWAN, and RFID. These high-tech badges support real-time position tracking, fall detection, and an SOS button to alert the workers immediately.

This badge has a battery life of up to three years and ATEX certification to guarantee its safety performance. Smart badges are promising in connectivity and cover Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LoRaWAN, and cellular integration. They provide information in real-time such as worker mobility, environmental conditions, and the use of equipment.

Kwant uses Low-Powered Wide-Area Range Network (LPWAN) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors in the various construction areas. It allows for tracking construction work, assessing risks that may occur, and properly managing material resources. These sensors come as smart badges, material tags, and mobile applications that allow accurate data collection when onsite. Likewise, depending on the smart badge application, Kwant badges can feature NFC, RFID, or UHF functionalities. It offers additional functionalities like access control integration. 

Unlock the potential of smart technology in your projects. Request a demo today to experience firsthand how Kwant's smart badges can optimize your workforce management and improve site safety. 

Similar posts

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the latest industry-driven information by Kwant.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.