Location awareness of assets and personnel plays a critical role in business decisions. Actionable real-time location and operational intelligence optimize the business workflow and enhance productivity as well as profitability. Real-Time Location Solution (RTLS) perfectly fits into the new age business needs because it is capable of bringing the real-time data, based on which businesses can make important decisions. RTLS market is still at early growth phase, but it has an immense potential in terms of opportunity and growth.

A wide range of protocols are available for RTLS and there is continuous emphasis on low cost high accuracy solution that can deliver the much needed visibility and connect the assets and personnel to Internet of Things (IoT).

Wi-Fi has been the most popular technology for RTLS for last several years. Ultra Wide Band (UWB) has gained a lot of traction in the recent years and with continuous technology and product innovation from the market participants, the technology has become one of the popular protocols for RTLS in various industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and so on. Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE) or beacons are the emerging technology for location solutions. With primary focus on indoor visibility, the BLE solution providers are offering a low cost affordable solution for businesses.

Bluetooth enabled devices are adequately and easily available in all industries, and currently all smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices are Bluetooth enabled. This makes the technology most attractive and feasible for everyone’s use. The Bluetooth devices can be used as the readers and the infrastructure cost of the entire solution comes down. Moreover, Bluetooth tags or beacon tags are comparatively lower priced than other RTLS tags available. A scalable, agile, and cloud based platform can address the business requirements for finding and locating assets as well as personnel, managing the workflow, and bringing in the IoT connectivity. Beacons are fast becoming the indoor location technology in all industries.

The growth of next generation UWB and BLE technologies is disrupting the RTLS market like never before and the end users are switching from traditional technologies for RTLS to UWB or BLE or combination of both. As smartphones and wearable devices are growing rapidly and becoming ubiquitous, UWB and BLE technologies are gaining greater traction for indoor location solutions. The end users can now enjoy the benefits of ease of deployments, low cost, low infrastructure, high accuracy, greater connectivity, and IoT connectivity. Such unique technological advantages are posing serious threats for alternative RTLS solutions such as Wi-Fi, active and passive RFID, infrared, ultrasound, and so on. These traditional technologies are still being used in industrial set-ups. However, as smartphones and wearables penetrate the industrial space to greater degrees, the next-gen UWN and BLE based RTLS solutions will be highly preferred for industrial applications such as inventory management, condition monitoring, and so on.

As the retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and other industries are shifting toward a smarter and more connected environment; connecting the assets, tools, devices, and personnel will bring the critical information closer to the decision makers and right business decisions can be taken at the right time to optimize the workflow. Next-gen UWB and BLE RTLS solutions, with communication abilities with smartphones, laptops, other Bluetooth enabled devices, and wearables are bringing in complete visibility and enabling the business decision makers and stakeholders by making information available round-the-clock. Such information and visibility are allowing the businesses to serve their clients better, and innovate upon the business models to cater to the client needs better at an affordable cost. As the applications and business models emerge, the BLE and UWB and other upcoming technologies will continue to grow and revolutionize the RTLS market.

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