With the increased competition and changing needs of customers, real-time business requirements are primarily to predict, sense, and respond to current market conditions. Companies are looking forward to the advantages that advanced solutions such as real-time location system (RTLS) offers, such as making smarter decisions and fast reaction time. RTLS solutions have been proven to add value to the businesses.
RTLS is an important business enhancer and is preferred for tracking the location and status of assets and people within a given area, such as warehouses, yards, hospitals, and so on. Healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and aerospace and defense are the sectors that make heavy use of RTLS. RTLS is also gaining prominence in sectors like retail, hospitality, education, and livestock management.
The continuous tracking and monitoring of assets, tools, work in progress, and personnel helps various industries reduce their lead time, wastage, labor cost, and losses, thereby helping them achieve quicker return on investment (ROI) and add value to their businesses.
In hospitals and the healthcare sector, continuous location tracking of patients, doctors, nurses, other staff, and visitors helps the hospital authorities provide better care and security to patients, personnel, and guests.
Embedding sensors to RTLS tags takes the technology one-step further by enabling tracking, locating, and sensing of the conditions of the materials tracked. This allows companies to make smart decisions throughout the value chain, much closer to the material and its environment. RTLS sensor tags help convert the visibility offered into actionable data and predictive changes by providing additional information about the environment.
The ability to look into the boxes without having to open them is the biggest advantage that sensors offer. Pallets and cartons containing perishable items are tagged with sensor tags, which monitor conditions such as heat, cold, humidity, and jolting while in transit. The conditions of perishable foods, drugs, medicine, and vaccine samples can be monitored at any point in the supply chain. Adequate precaution can be taken while transporting and handling hazardous chemicals and explosive materials by using RFID sensor tags, thereby, preventing fatal accidents. Defense and security agencies benefit by using sensor tags in wars, aircrafts, and ammunitions. They are well equipped to provide better security and avoid terrorist attacks.
The major barriers for greater adoption are high initial cost of deployment and long investment cycles. In developed markets, such as North America and Europe, people are aware of the technology and its benefits, but market participants need to spread more awareness for greater adoption globally.
End users have now started realizing the value RTLS technology brings into their businesses, more so as industries such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, data centers, and financial services are strictly governed by mandates. Strong regulations, coupled with visibility of business use cases that allow end users to understand the ROI and the need of operational excellence, will keep driving the RTLS market in the short term and the long term.