Weighing In On The Latest Global RTLS Market Predictions

It must be the time of year when all the market research experts weigh in with their predictions for the global Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) market because there’s been a flurry of them in the last month or so. Predictions for the growth rate of the global RTLS market ranged from 20% up to just over 33% CAGR and market value forecasts ranged from $7 billion up to $43.7 billion.

Given these varied opinions, if only we had a crystal ball and magic wand – though most likely they are due to the different metrics applied by different research organisations. Most, however, would agree on the key drivers of this growth being a combination of:

  • Growing adoption in Defence, security, emergency services, mining, oil & gas, healthcare, retailing, manufacturing, transportation, logistics and other asset-intensive industries
  • Strong adoption of GPS with RFID adoption rates not too far behind
  • Strong adoption in North America and strong growth signs in APAC
  • Continued innovation and technology advancement in RTLS applications
  • Continued drop in pricing of RTLS technologies

So just what is RTLS?

RTLS should not to be confused as another piece of asset tracking technology. Rather RTLS is an umbrella term used to describe the wide variety of technologies that can pin-point where an asset, such as a person, a medical device, a container of hazardous material, a tool, a vehicle or other item is located both indoors and outdoors, and most importantly, in real time. Most popular RTLS technologies include WiFi, GPS, Infrared, UWB, Bluetooth, and active and passive RFID systems. Even ultrasound is considered a real-time location system!

What is RTLS used for?

RTLS technologies are used in a wide variety of enterprise applications and we’ve spoken about a number of these before. From farming to the factory floor and beyond, it is helping a growing user base streamline operations, increase asset and people utilisation, reduce the costs associated with misplaced assets, improve supply chain efficiency, and enhanced productivity – all of which result in solid increases in return on investment (ROI) and a better bottom line.

However, an even better ROI might be had with a little creative thinking. It’s not just about positively identifying an item, or tracking where it is so you know when it will arrive. It’s also about understanding its history, how it got there, its relationship to other assets and a number of other pieces of data in the context of the asset’s lifecycle and ultimately the business.

For example: In the healthcare industry, the costs associated with lost medical equipment are quite staggering, and so a growing number of hospitals are deploying RFID technology in an effort to combat this problem. But let’s not just stop at the outcome of reducing hospital equipment costs. Let’s also use the data to look at the precise movements of equipment and identify breaches in decontamination processes which can lead to hospital acquired infections. It is deeper insights like this that will see RTLS technology find its way into new applications that perhaps were not even on the initial target list.

Which RTLS technology is best?

Whilst there a steady stream of early adopters reaping strong returns from their real-time asset tracking implementations, the majority organisations are yet to embark upon or go past the investigation stage. Developing a deep understanding of the myriad of RTLS technologies available is daunting, and technology is nowhere near plug and play. Executives may have heard about a particular technology, but this doesn’t mean it is the best suited for their project. This can lead to excessive costs spent on a system that stops short of solving the business issue.

Unfortunately there currently is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to the use of RTLS technologies. However, the good news is that whether it’s an industry quick-look, a scoping study, an asset auditing and tagging service, or a technology solution deployment, Relegen’s team of experienced RFID consultants can work with you to determine the best fit for your application. We have successfully deployed asset tracking technologies across a number of projects and industries including Defence, Border protection, mining, manufacturing, and more. Contact us on sales@relegen.com or +61 (0)2 9998 9000 to discuss your RTLS project today.