Asset Tracking and Fleet Tracking Applications Providing Significant Growth Impetus to the Global Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) Market in Reaching $7 Billion by 2020
Real Time Location System (RTLS) is a technology that is used to automatically identify and locate objects, assets or individuals in real time. The goal of RTLS is to continuously track location of the targets. RTLS works with the help of a tag which is attached to the target from which wireless signals are sent and received by the readers. The readers are usually fixed at predetermined positions and they transmit the location data to the software which then interprets the exact location visually to the end user.
The global Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) market generated revenue of around $2.3 billion in 2014 and is estimated to reach $7 billion by 2020, according to a recent published by IndustryARC on the industry. Consistent drop in prices of RTLS, increased penetration in APAC countries, growing adoption in manufacturing and enterprise segments especially in growing end user application areas such as sports, retail and Livestock management are the key contributors for the market growth.
The RTLS market can be segmented based on the technology into Active RFID and Passive RFID. In 2014, Active RFID segment accounts for the largest share. The Passive RFID segment is projected to grow due to development of new applications with this technology. The demand from healthcare and enterprise industries is the major driver for this segment. The Active RFID RTLS market can be further segmented into based on type of technology utilized. Wi-Fi is the largest market with $961 million in revenue in 2014 followed by GPS RTLS. Ultra Wide Band (UWB) RTLS is forecast to exhibit the fastest growth, according to the report by IndustryARC, due to the growing use for personnel tracking and asset tracking.
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Vehicle tracking, Asset tracking, personnel tracking, activity tracking, containers tracking, work in progress (WIP) tracking are the key end user applications of real time location systems currently. Asset/Inventory tracking is the most dominant end use application of RTLS products with a total market size of $797 million in 2014. Personnel tracking application is the fastest growing application with a market size of $281.3 million in 2014 and estimated to grow at a CAGR of 29.7% through 2020. This is primarily because personnel tracking application is currently being used to improve safety and security of employees who work in hazardous and risk prone environments like mines, petrochemical industries and in construction industries.
The RTLS market can be analyzed based on the different industry verticals it has presence such as manufacturing, healthcare, defense, personal security and logistics and retail. The logistics market currently holds the highest market share of 32% in 2014 due to customer demand for asset tracking and growing demand for GPS tracking of shipments. The manufacturing industry however is the fastest growing segment, especially in the APAC region where automation is increasingly being adopted across factories.
The demand for real time location systems with analytical features has also led to significant growth in the logistics and retail market. The growing applications in sports and retail to track user data and utilize analytics to generate patterns are set to lead to growing adoption. However privacy and security concerns regarding tracking and storage of personnel tracking RTLS devices, particularly in Europe, is set to hinder growth in the enterprise market.
The North American market is currently the largest market in 2014 followed by Europe. However the APAC region is poised to grow at a very high CAGR due to more emerging economies are investing significant capital into increasing the adoption of logistics and manufacturing industries across the supply chain networks. The growing awareness and declining prices that overcome the price sensitivity in this region are also set to propel the adoption.
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The top five companies in the RTLS market include Ekahau Inc. (U.S), Ubisense Group plc(U.S), CenTrak Inc. (U.S), Zebra Technologies (U.S) and Stanley, Black and Decker Inc. (U.S). These companies held a low combined market share of around 40% in the RTLS market in the fiscal year ended 2014. The RTLS companies have looked to agreements and product launches as key strategies for growth. Companies are focusing on agreements and partnerships to utilize a wide distribution network to improve sales of products. Agreements have also been inked to develop partnerships and drive the growth in revenue. Ekahau reached an agreement with six American Schools in 2013 to provide RTLS solutions for panic buttons. This agreement generates added revenue for Ekahau. Product launches were focused on improving accuracy and speed in order to satiate customer demand. Product launches were also focused on capitalization of demand for new applications in order to broaden the customer base.
There is a significant global demand for RTLS systems with Wi-Fi based systems leading the charge. The economic growth, particularly in APAC, has led to growing manufacturing market for RTLS systems supported by the declining RTLS prices. Many manufacturing industries, healthcare and enterprises have started utilizing RTLS to for personnel and asset tracking. According to IndustryARC analysis, the future of the RTLS market looks extremely bright and is forecast to be a good segment for future investments and acquisitions by OEMs in the electronics and semiconductors industry.
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