Press Release

Real Time Locating Systems Market to Reach $4 Billion in 2022

January 19th, 2012

Global Information Inc. would like to present a new market research report, "Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) 2012-2022: Forecasts, Players, Opportunities" by IDTechEx Ltd..

2011 was a momentous year for Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS)  systems that remotely locate tags on things, animals or people, usually in 3D and in near-to-real-time. RTLS does not rely on readers being brought close to the tag or to portals where the tag is read when it passes, its previous and subsequent location being subject to heroic assumptions. In the new report, IDTechEx forecasts that the RTLS market will rise from $255 million to only $293 million in 2012 but then powering up to nearly $4 billion in 2022.


Early success

In the previous decade, the subject had taken off with rapid adoption in heavy logistics. Leader WhereNet made excellent profits and was latterly acquired by the $1 billion Zebra Technologies also of the USA. Its proprietary system became the basis of an ISO open standard. At the same time RTLS proved very popular in US Hospitals in particular for tracking both staff and assets driven by the fear of lawsuits for negligence and the theft or misplacement of up to 5% assets every year. Overstocking of mission critical devices such as defibrillators could be avoided when they could be found instantly when they were needed. Baby theft could be eliminated and many other benefits accrued. However, no one technology was dominant, with WiFi (partly using existing infrastructure with radio fingerprinting) being popular thanks to companies such as AeroScout and Ekahau. Add UHF and 2.4 GHz systems from Awarepoint, GE healthcare selling the products of two developers and many others and alternative, non-RFID options such Sonitor ultrasound where only the room needs to be identified. There have even been some multiple technologies such as infrared with RFID. Awarepoint real-time awareness solutions are now at work in over 150 facilities supporting and serving nearly two million high acuity patients each year.

New waves of market penetration

By contrast, 2011 saw somewhat slower growth of RTLS in heavy logistics and healthcare, the ongoing recession-proof growth of this embryonic market being created by a wide variety of newer applications notably in oil and gas, mining, aerospace and manufacturing. This was much more than diversification of existing technologies into new industries and sectors however. For example, in January 2011, Essensium signed a contract with Flightcare and POM Vlaams-Brabant to track and trace vehicles at Brussels National Airport using its "wide over narrow band" RTLS. By September 2011, Dundee Precious Metals Inc. (TSX: DPM) had implemented AeroScouts Wi-Fi RFID for tracking people, equipment and vehicles in Chelopech mine in Bulgaria. Worker safety and productivity are improved both on the surface and underground.

UWB comes to the fore

The very technology was changing too. For example, Ultra Wide Band (UWB), whether using Time of Arrival, Time Difference of Arrival or Angle of Arrival or combinations of these now gives superlative tolerance of electromagnetic interference, proximate metal and water and accuracy at a not too high price. Ubisense of Cambridge in the UK, now specialising in UWB RTLS for manufacturing in the main, graduated from earlier start up to a successful stock market flotation in 2011. Trading was at 2.20 a share, up almost a quarter on the IPO price and giving the company a market capital of over 47million. Ubisense has big plans for its RTLS, which company CEO, Richard Green, believes could be as big as GPS (he calls it indoor GPS). He wants Ubisense to become Cambridges next 1 billion company.

Zebra Technologies had earlier acquired Multispectral Solutions, the UWB RTLS supplier that won the bidding for people location in the challenging environment of the BP Cherry Point refinery in New York. Thus a frequency band that had been forbidden has become the basis of one of the most popular forms of RTLS.

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