Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) are now an underutilised solution in most factories, warehouses, hospitals, smart offices, and other businesses. Today, boutique systems offered by solution providers leverage standalone deployments with proprietary hardware to help drive revenue.
However, hardware costs will drop drastically as the industry moves away from proprietary systems to reduce vendor lock-in, increase interoperability, and reduce the initial costs of investments.
As a result, much of the industry, including many traditional hardware vendors, is looking to diversify its portfolio and complement hardware sales by monetizing deployments through services models augmented by additional features such as analytics and device management.
ABI Research forecasts RTLS service revenue to be worth US$3.7 billion in 2022 and will rise to US$24.9 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 26.8%.
“As RTLS hardware, such as tags and anchors, become increasingly affordable, hardware revenues are expected to become less reliable. As a result, many RTLS vendors that traditionally focus on hardware offerings are looking to find value in an increasing volume of deployments, even as hardware revenues decrease,” explains Mark Qi, a location technologies research analyst at ABI Research.
Service offerings can vary with many traditional hardware vendors. Kontakt.io, Estimote, and Quuppa now support software solutions. Beneficial features for enterprises looking to deploy RTLS include vertical-specific analytics, such as equipment usage metrics, footfall patterns or spaghetti diagrams, application integration, and device management to monitor tag activity and support system health. All these features can be provided as services from RTLS vendors.
While monetisation solutions vary greatly by vendor, they are primarily based on a per-tag subscription, allowing for consistent and scalable profits with larger, high-tag deployments. Some vendors are further diversifying.
For example, Centrak acquired system integrator Infinite Leap. Also, vendors of other hardware networks such as smart lighting provider Cooper Lighting and Wi-Fi network providers such as Cisco and Juniper Networks all offer RTLS platforms based on software integrations.
On the impact of RTLS deployments gaining momentum, Qi says, “The move to more service models is because of the wider adoption in the RTLS industry. This will be advantageous to end users by removing many major barriers to adoption. RTLS vendors will benefit from consistent revenue and a much larger market.”