Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Logistics provides boost for RTLS market

Steve Rogerson
December 20, 2016



The global real-time location system (RTLS) market in the transportation and logistics sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 49 per cent from 2016 to 2020, according to a report by Technavio.
 
RTLS is an emerging technology used to find, track, manage and identify the geographical position of a target in real time with the help of nodes or tags, and readers. It has applications in transportation, logistics and supply chain management companies. Most of the demand for RTLS systems and tags originates from the Americas, followed Emea and Apac.
 
The market is experiencing some major trends that will significantly impact the adoption of RTLS and RFID during the market forecast period. There is an increasing adoption of ultra-wide band RTLS technology as it delivers correctness over short to medium distances. It is also comparatively more affordable than other technologies. In addition, the use of RTLS ensures safety and security of lone workers.
 
Based on application, the report categorises the RTLS market in the transportation and logistics sector into RFID, wifi, barcodes and QR codes, and others.
 
“The RFID segment is expected to increase during 2015-2020,” said Abhishek Sharma, market analysts at Technavio. “In the transportation and logistics industry, RFID tags are mainly used for asset tracking and workforce management. It helps this industry to improve its efficiency and the effectiveness of several of its operations. The decreasing costs of RFID tags are encouraging its wide scale adoption leading to a healthy competition among various vendors in the industry.”
 
The RFID segment can be broadly categorised as active and passive RFID. The active RFID segment has achieved significant market penetration. The passive RFID segment is expected to grow due to demand for applications that are still in R&D. Both the segments combined are expected to grow at a CAGR of over 48 per cent in the forecast period.
 
With wifi, a located object can appear superimposed atop an architectural floor plan for precise real-time tracking. A user can query sets of tags or individual tags to locate an asset, even if the said object is locked away in a storage closet. RTLS can search across several wifi networks simultaneously, thereby enabling the location of equipment and people in distant regions.
 
The global demand for wifi based RTLS systems is expected to increase significantly during the forecast period. Wifi RTLS enables enterprises to enhance all processes, from WLAN management and security, to asset tracking. Currently, wifi-based RTLS is primarily used in location tracking as it can be easily deployed and saves cost.
 
“Barcodes and QR code scanners ensure the correct barcode reading and data transmission,” said Sharma. “The tags are used to identify the object to which they are usually attached. The identification process is called reading, and it is checked by specific sensor devices, which are called readers. The purpose of tags is to facilitate and increase the correctness of the identification process.”
 
RTLS tags are mainly used in the logistic sectors for indoor asset tracking, from large warehouses to retail outlets. It helps them increase efficiency and reduce costs. To track assets in an outdoor setting, cellular networks and satellites are employed. However, the weak signal strength of GPS or cellular-based systems may make it difficult for enterprises to track assets in factories and warehouses. Low-cost RFID tags and barcodes are used to track assets in these controlled environments.
 
The top vendors highlighted by Technavio’s research analysts in this report are Airista, CSR Group, Samsung Networks, Ubisense and Zebra Technologies.
 
The cold chain monitoring market is expected to grow from US$3.11bn in 2015 to $6.23bn by 2022, at a CAGR of 9.84 per cent. According to a report by Markets & Markets.