Asset tracking is the fastest growing industrial IoT market and most connected devices will be location aware within the next decade, according to a recently published report by ON World.
“A new generation of industrial asset tracking and locating applications is now possible due to the emergence of low-cost smart tags with multi-year battery lifetimes,” said Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director. “The biggest drivers of this growth are Low Power Wide Networks (LPWAN), Bluetooth beacons, ultra-wideband (UWB) and innovations targeting indoor/outdoor asset tracking.”
ON World surveyed 62 industrial asset tracking leaders and innovators and found that over half have commercial deployments and 19% have deployed >50,000 asset trackers. Respondents have high demands for their asset trackers with one third expecting to have >200 transmissions/day and 27% expect their devices’ battery life to be >5 years.
Sensor-enabled “smart tags” remain a growing trend with 84% including sensors other than GPS in their asset tracking devices. Respondents are most satisfied with the data reliability and data rate and least satisfied with battery lifetime and cost.
A few of the technology trends that are driving adoption for industrial asset tracking and locating today include the following:
Low Power Wide Area Networks
Long battery lifetimes, low-costs and multi-mile transmissions make LPWANs the most promising technology for long range asset tracking and monitoring. Sixty-one percent of ON World’s survey respondents are using or planning LPWAN solutions.
Location based services are now possible for LPWAN devices without GPS using existing LPWAN infrastructure and cloud-based positioning algorithms. LoRaWAN networks support location accuracy of 20 to 80 meters using Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) from geolocation-ready gateways using the low cost LoRa chip and without the use of GPS. Startup Polte’s Cloud Location over Cellular (C-LoC) solution using 4G and 5G networks (LTE-M and NB-IoT) precisely track and locate assets without the use of GPS.
Ubiquitous, low-cost Bluetooth beacons are transforming real-time location systems (RTLS). Companies such as Bluvision, Kontakt, Link Labs and Roambee are disrupting the industrial IoT with with Bluetooth beacons for location-based services that combine asset tracking with condition monitoring for increased supply chain visibility, asset management and production optimization. The Bluetooth SIG’s new direction-finding feature aims to achieve centimeter-level location position accuracy for Bluetooth devices illustrated by Quuppa’s real-time locating method and positioning algorithms.
Indoor/Outdoor Asset Tracking
Another growing trend is indoor/outdoor asset trackers that provide visibility throughout the supply chain as well as location services in the plant. The most common development is the use of multi-radio asset trackers that provide precise indoor location position using short-range radios such as Bluetooth LE and WiFi as well as long range asset tracking communications such as LTE-M, LoRaWAN or Sigfox..
Wyres (acquired by Kerlink) has created an indoor/outdoor RTLS system using LoRaWAN enabled beacons that support long range asset tracking as well as smart tag position location accuracy of 5-10 meters without using additional short-range radios. In addition, a growing number of RTLS vendors are using ultra-wideband (UWB) that provides 30-centimeter accuracy indoors or outdoors.
By 2027, there will be 267 million active RFID/asset trackers in use worldwide for industrial automation, logistics, supply chain, agriculture, construction, mining and related markets. Although vehicle fleet management is the largest market currently, it will be surpassed within the next few years by tracking, locating and monitoring for other types of assets including shipping containers, livestock, machinery, equipment and tools.
More information about ON World’s report, “Industrial IoT Asset Tracking,” and a free executive summary is available from: https://www.onworld.com/assettracking
About ON World:
ON World (https://www.onworld.com) provides global business intelligence on Internet of Things markets. Our market research is used by Fortune 1000 companies, investors and IoT developers worldwide.
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*LoRaWAN™ is a mark used under license from the LoRa Alliance™.
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