Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) solutions are utilized for tracking the location of a target in real time basis. RTLS is different from Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) though they are mostly perceived to be the same solutions. RFID utilizes signal transmission between two or more devices, for locating the target. RTLS, on the other hand, automatically identifies the target and track its location on a real time basis. Additionally, RTLS can track the movement of the target, when it is supported by a computer application. The degree of accuracy is dependent on the type of software solution chosen for tracking the target, utilizing RTLS.
In contrast, RFID technology can be either active or passive. Passive RFID provides point-in-time location, in presence of specialized RFID readers. Active RFID sends out signals to a specialized reader at constant time intervals which is then utilized by specialized software solutions to find the location of the tagged target. Hence real time tracking is not always possible by RFID technology. RTLS was created with the target of creating a technology which has the capability to identify the target automatically and also allows for real time viewing of the target’s location, through a computer.
The market for real time locating system is primarily been driven by the growing demand of these systems in healthcare sector. RTLS allows for high accuracy real time monitoring, and hence is highly beneficial for tracking patients, equipments and hospital staffs among others. It is deemed to be extremely beneficial for emergency evacuation procedures, as it can aid in accounting for all the members present inside the building. Also, advanced RTLS systems can send alerts when certain parameters are not met, such as when any medical equipment is not returned to its original place within stipulated time, RTLS can activate a warning signal to alert the responsible person. Such applications have been positively impacting the growth of the market.
Additionally, RTLS is finding increasing application in warehouses, correctional facilities, and retail stores, among others, where it aids in immediate location of the target and tracking of any misplaced items among others. This in turn has been further fuelling the growth of the market. However, several reports on privacy related concerns have been hampering the growth of the RTLS market. Additionally, RTLS systems can often provide erroneous data, owing to lack in signal strength or any other such issues. This again has been hampering the growth of the RTLS market. Considering the benefits offered by RTLS systems and their growing applications across different industry verticals, the global RTLS market can be expected to grow at a good pace during the forecast period.
On the basis of architecture, the market for RTLS has been segmented into hardware and software. Hardware includes RTLS tags and computer systems among others. The software segment is expected to maintain its fast growth pace, during the forecast period. On the basis of connective technology, the market is segmented into four segments. They are Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Wi-Fi, infrared and others. BLE is expected to be the fastest growing segment, during the forecast period. By end use industry, the market has been segmented into healthcare, retail, transportation & logistics, manufacturing and others. The global market for RF RTLS, by region, has been segmented into five major regions. They are North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), South America and Middle-East & Africa (MEA). North America had the largest market share in 2016, owing to growing applications of RTLS across different industry verticals.
The major companies of the RTLS market globally are Kontact.io, Inc. (The U.S.), CenTrak, Inc. (The U.S.), and Versus Technology, Inc. (The U.S.) among various other companies.