Consumer IoT Tracking Devices Enter the Mainstream to Reach 68 Million Units by 2026

Tracking children, the elderly, and pets is becoming the new normal for safety
24 Jun 2021

There are a variety of different consumer IoT products which include smart home products and appliances, wearable health monitors, and personal tracking devices. Personal tracking devices, specifically, devices to track children, the elderly, and pets, are becoming increasingly popular within the consumer IoT tracking market. Those three segments alone are forecasted to collectively reach an installed base of 68 million by 2026, up from the 2021 installed base of 16 million, according to a new report from global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research.

“There are different reasons as to why consumers would wish to track their pets, their children, and their elderly or vulnerable family member, but the most significant reason is safety,” says Harriet Sumnall, Research Analyst at ABI Research.

Improved healthcare is resulting in a world population that is living a lot longer, with an average life expectancy of 75-80. “Larger populations of elderly people increase the pool of seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s that will require tracking services for their health and safety.” Sumnall explains. “Ultimately these devices offer the ability for the vulnerable to continue to live their lives as they do, but with that extra safety precaution put in place which offers family members and caregivers peace of mind,” Sumnall adds. SoS features, offered by companies such as MindMe, are critical in tracking devices for the elderly. The elderly tracking market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 42%; North America will have the largest installed base of 15 million by 2026.

As normality returns in a post-COVID world, child tracking devices will increasingly be used to offer parents peace of mind when their children are out playing, traveling to school, or out with friends. Furthermore, child abduction and trafficking rates are increasing, making the world a scary place for many parents. The offerings within this market include GPS tracking devices in the form of a smartwatch (i.e., Verizon GizmoWatch), dongles (i.e., AngelSense, Relay, Jiobit), and tracking tags (i.e., Apple AirTag). Each device not only gives parents peace of mind but also satisfies the “cool factor” for children that are becoming more tech-savvy at a younger age. This segment is forecasted to have the highest install base by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 30.4%.

Bolting, being lost or stolen, training, and tracking fitness are the main reasons people use pet trackers. “A lot of people will use a tracking device for their pets, dogs especially, while they are either young or new to the home,” Sumnall explains. If the animal decides to make a run for it, a GPS location will be highly beneficial (depending on surroundings) to locating the pet. Pet trackers can also be used for tracking pet activity levels. “Fitness tracking capabilities include a number of steps taken by the pet throughout the day as well as their sleeping patterns. Both can be key information when diagnosing a problem at the vet,” says Sumnall. Current pet trackers are GPS collar attachments from companies such as Tractive, Pawfit, Deutsch Telekom, and Vodaphone.

As with all IoT solutions and applications, latency, network speed, and coverage need to be considered when evaluating which technology or technologies to use for GPS tracking. Low latency is required for tracking devices, especially those for that are tracking people and pets; the ability to track location as close to real-time as possible is crucial. “Cellular, LPWA, and Cloud-based and Crowd-based location technologies are best suited for accurate GPS tracking,” Sumnall concludes. 

These findings are from ABI Research’s Consumer IoT: Child, Elderly and Pet Tracking technology analysis report. This report is part of the company’s M2M, IoT, IoE research service, which includes research, data and analyst insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Technology Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.

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