RTLS and Asset Tracking Technologies to Catalyze Next-Generation Fleet Telematics, Retail, and Manufacturing Solutions

21 Feb 2017

The potential surrounding next-generation RTLS and asset tracking technologies will move from proof of concept to full scale deployments in 2017, laying the foundation for a break out year in 2018, forecasts ABI Research.

ABI Research is beginning to see BLE beacon and other next-generation RTLS and asset tracking technology deployments in the transport and logistics, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and commercial buildings verticals. The low-cost, high-accuracy combination is creating new opportunities in applications like pallet tracking, condition monitoring, last mile delivery, inventory, and tools/asset tracking. Beacons, which are also well-suited for consumer asset tracking, will continue to accelerate significantly in 2017 and 2018, as large beacon networks help catalyze the critical end user population.

With a growing number of startups with strong IPs infiltrating the market landscape, industry incumbents need to understand who they should collaborate with and what new technology initiatives will start to take form. HID Global recently acquired high-accuracy startup Bluvision, and Cisco invested in MIST Systems. ABI Research expects to see more investments, partnerships, and acquisitions over the next two years.

While active RFiD is starting to look outdated and expensive in comparison to new technologies, passive RFiD remains the overbearing entity in the RTLS and asset tracking market, particularly with retail migrating to in-store item level tracking. This was a big trend at NRF this year, with Zebra launching its new SmartSense technology, while Intel demoed its new Retail Sensor Platform. Though the industry is still three to four years away from passive BLE, startups are working on the problem. In the short-to-medium term, ultra wideband technology could be become an interesting alternative, given its high accuracy.

These findings are from ABI Research’s BLE Beacon Technologies, Applications, and Revenues report.

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