CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
February 22, 2020
Forward Thinking

Study: Shipments of asset tracking devices could triple by 2022

Improved technology produces better sensors for Internet of Things.

Hot demand could push Internet of Things (IoT) providers to triple production by 2022 of the electronic devices used by companies to track their assets, a report released Wednesday says.

Annual shipments of asset-tracking IoT devices is forecast to grow from $22 million to 70 million by 2022, according to an analysis of the market by Campbell, Calif.-based market research firm Mobile Experts LLC.

Much of the growth is being driven by technology changes over the past three years, such as better long-range communications, extended battery life that allows a device to run for years on a single charge, and lower prices for tracking modules, according to the report, "Asset Tracking IoT Devices 2017." Additional technology upgrades have also improved precision and range for indoor location, the report found.

The report evaluates different technologies used for tracking devices, including Bluetooth, ultra-wideband (UWB), Wi-Fi, 802.15.4 wireless, low power wide area (LPWA), 2G, long term evolution (LTE), narrow band IoT (NB-IoT), 5G, satellite, infrared, ultrasound, near-field communication (NFC), and radio frequency identification (RFID). Each of those wireless standards has benefits for use in certain market segments, such as transportation and logistics, industrial, retail, consumer, agriculture, and healthcare, the firm said.

"Basic tracking technologies, like bar codes and RFID, are used heavily in retail and logistics areas today. Around 9.6 billion RFID tags were used in 2016 ... despite the limitations in range and lack of real-time tracking capability," Mobile Experts Principal Analyst Joe Madden said in a statement. "This marks an important baseline in asset tracking, because low-cost RFID or bar-code tracking represent indirect competition for investment in enterprise markets ... and RFID cost is only $0.10 to $0.50 per tag," Madden said.

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