Trends

Indoor location market: trends, limits and opportunities

The indoor location market is growing, with promising outlooks and the ability to cover more and more industries and use cases. In this blog post, we discuss trends, opportunities and limitations.

In summary
  • Trends and predictions of indoor location market
  • Opportunities and limits to invest in indoor location
  • Applications by industry
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Past and future predictions

According to Markets and Markets, in 2021, the market for indoor location was worth USD 7.0 billion and it is expected to grow up to USD 19.7 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 22,9%. Among others, the main drivers for such growth and adoption are the increasing number of applications powered by BLE tags and beacons, the boost of connected devices, the increasing use of location-based services and the inability of GPS to accurately track objects and people in indoor environments. 

In terms of geography, the market is expected to have the largest share in North America, with the U.S. as first, followed by Canada. Over the most recent years, North America has indeed made numerous investments in technologies such as BLE, UWB and Wi-Fi and the adoption of indoor location for asset and people tracking has begun to spread across different industries.

The role and impact of the pandemic

Since mid-2020, after the strict lockdown periods, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of indoor location technologies as there was the necessity of ensuring social distancing among workers and of immediately back tracing contacts to limit the virus spread at work. 

Many solution providers have specifically developed new solutions to manage the risk of infection and ensure a safer workplace, including us. Here is the case history of ILR Industries, in partnership with our partners I-Virtualize and Quuppa.

 

Now that the virus is less of a concern, these solutions are less required but, for sure,the pandemic has demonstrated the value of indoor location in improving safety in the workplace, not only related to COVID. For instance, moving vehicles and workers can be tracked to avoid collisions, or indoor location technologies can also be used to ensure that workers wear the personal protection equipment (PPE) required when accessing a specific area and to promptly notify and remind which PPE they should have. 

 

Indoor location trends

As for 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant, there are new trends emerging in the market of indoor location and services, such as:

  • Aggregation of different technologies (e.g. UWB and BLE) to improve the level of information included in indoor location data for better business decisions;
  • The need to not only track x and y coordinates, but also z coordinates, especially in manufacturing and warehouses where it is important to know the exact shelf in which the asset is located;
  • The integration of sensing capabilities in addition to location data, especially for safety reasons due to dangerous temperatures or hazardous materials.

Limits that might refrain from investing

Restraints to invest in indoor location technologies are usually related to two factors:

 

  1. Investment costs: investments for setting up an RTLS solution might be high and need to be justified with a Return on Investment beyond the break-even point. Does RTLS pay off? In our opinion, yes it does. And we’ve proved it in our case studies. To make the best out of the investment, it’s all about understanding the key pain points of business processes and how to address them, finding the right balance between costs and the infrastructure required.
  2. Data privacy: especially when tracking people, data privacy obviously becomes a concern. If it holds true that for employee safety in a manufacturing environment or for shopper engagement in retail you need to track people, please remember that for any other use case you simply don’t. For instance, if you’d like to know customer behaviour in supermarkets, well, tracking carts and baskets is enough for you.

Opportunities you should take

There are also so many opportunities you should take and so many reasons to decide to invest in indoor location technologies.

 

Over the years, indoor location technologies have become more and more mature, in terms of stability and accuracy of the signal, limited required maintenance of the infrastructure and active monitoring services of all components. This implies that they can be installed in very complex environments, especially in manufacturing, and still be reliable.

 

Moreover, as already mentioned above, different types of technologies can be combined to increase the details of information provided and cover different use cases, when, for example, you need a z coordinate to add to the mix.

 

Cloud technology has also matured enough to be considered a viable option for many businesses, including manufacturing companies and its non-production-critical systems. Hybrid setups could also be taken into consideration where services with low-latency requirements are running on-premise, whereas more computationally intensive ones (e.g. BI and analytics) can be deployed on the cloud.

 

Last but not  least, one RTLS technology can be used to cover so many challenges and use cases, with benefits and ROIs coming from different business processes. We dedicated one blog post to this topic, linked on the correlated resources box. 

Applications by industry 

Indoor location technologies are of different kinds (BLE, UWB, Wi-Fi) and need to be complemented by indoor location solutions to deliver all the necessary services (i.e. location analytics and location-based services) in different industrial domains.

 

Indoor location is relevant for so many industries, such as retail, manufacturing, healthcare, smart buildings, sports and so many others still untapped. Different industries require different technological features to address specific challenges inside the organisation and thus specific services. Customisation of indoor location technologies and services is very high and capable of responding to the different challenges and needs of the industry.


To sum up, the indoor location market is a promising market, with growth potential and rates. Indoor location is able to optimise processes and reduce costs in different industries and in each one of them you can benefit from economies of scope.

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