Seeking Sustainable Growth: Understanding the Value Real-Time Visibility Technology Brings to Business and People


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Seeking Sustainable Growth: Understanding the Value Real-Time Visibility Technology Brings to Business and People

  1. 1. 50 Years of Growth, Innovation and Leadership A Frost & Sullivan White Paper Seeking Sustainable Growth: Understanding the value real-time visibility technology brings to business and people
  2. 2. Frost & Sullivan CONTENTS Global RTLS Market at a Glance........................................................................................... 3 Key Business Challenges that RTLS Addresses.................................................................... 5 Technology Overview............................................................................................................. 6 Competitive Landscape andValue Proposition.................................................................... 8 Highlights of Zebra RTLS Best Practices............................................................................. 11 Retail Case Study-Visible Brands™ ....................................................................................... 11 Conclusion............................................................................................................................... 12
  3. 3. Seeking Sustainable Growth: Understanding the Value Real-Time Visibility Technology Brings to Business and People In business,the need to quickly locate assets and people has always been important for better productivity. With advanced and sophisticated wireless technologies available, access to an asset’s location information can be easily accomplished. However, it is the real-time location information that empowers a business with the highest degree of intelligence, and Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) solutions are capable of bringing real-time data to decision-makers. The ability to solve a wide range of business problems makes RTLS a valuable solution for a range of businesses in a variety of verticals. Given the benefits of RTLS,it is still not pervasive enough due to lack of public knowledge and understanding, and until recently, the technology was not considered to deliver a solid return on investment (ROI), primarily due to the high cost of acquisition. This paper explains what RTLS is and how it works, and encapsulates the best practices associated with the RTLS solutions. Frost & Sullivan intends to make this white paper informative and understandable to senior executives who want to know more about what it takes to deploy RTLS in their business processes and reap the benefits of the investments made. GLOBAL RTLS MARKET AT A GLANCE RTLS,with its technological sophistication and advantages over other automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies,such as Passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Active RFID and barcodes, has already carved a niche for itself in the past few years across industries such as defense, manufacturing, aerospace, transportation, automotive, chemical, oil & gas, healthcare, agriculture, retail and mining. RTLS has become even more essential in today’s competitive business age when there is a continuous pressure on operational efficiencies, the need for increased profit margins and enhanced customer satisfaction in order to stay ahead of the competition. In addition, the complex business models, in which the workforce is more mobile and customers are demanding, are adding extra pressure. Security demands in government sectors have also triggered RTLS market growth in recent years. Various government sectors, including defense, military, aerospace, federal offices, national security, detention centers, research centers and laboratories, use RTLS for crucial applications, such as locating important assets in the supply chain in addition to personnel and prisoners. Safety of patients and security of electronic health records and valuable assets have also resulted in higher demand for RTLS in healthcare. RTLS allows accurate and faster tracking of clinical equipment, patients and personnel, as well as provides enhanced infant and patient security.
  4. 4. Frost & Sullivan 4 Figure 1: RTLS Market– Drivers and Restraints, Global, 2012-2018 RESTRAINTS RESTRAINTS Demand in government sectors Demand in healthcare and manufacturing applications Standards for various technologies available Lack of awareness Lack of understanding of use cases High cost of acquisition Denotes current impact Denotes long-term impact DRIVERS DRIVERS Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis With heavy focus on research and development, the RTLS market players continuously strive to develop more robust and innovative solutions. As a result, a variety of technology options are available for RTLS at present. Ultra Wideband (UWB) and Wi-Fi technologies have made a mark in recent years and are expected to have exponential growth in the short and long terms. Figure 2: RTLS Market–Revenue Projection Based on Adoption Rates RevenueGrowthRate 2013 2015 2017 2020 World RTLS Market Growth UWB RTLS Growth Wi-Fi RTLS Growth The Global RTLS Market is expected to have a growth rate between 30.0%-34.0% The UWB RTLS segment is expected to grow by 45.0%-50.0% The Wi-Fi RTLS segment is expected to have a growth between 40.0%-45.0% Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis The other technologies available for RTLS include WhereNet, Ultrasound, Infrared, Zigbee, GPS, Active RFID and Passive RFID. End users can now choose from the wide range of solutions available, depending on their business processes and application needs. Advanced and scalable middleware and software solutions make it possible to use a combination of technologies to deploy a better solution and yield more benefits.
  5. 5. Seeking Sustainable Growth: Understanding the Value Real-Time Visibility Technology Brings to Business and People The biggest restraint the market faces today is the lack of awareness, as users are still highly dependent on barcodes and Passive RFID for their businesses. Although end users can choose from a wider range of solutions available at present, the lack of uniform standards make various available RTLS solutions challenging to integrate. Lack of interoperability and incompatibility between various infrastructures creates problems for the end users and is another restraint for the RTLS market. The economic downturn also is stopping end users from making heavy deployments too soon, and they follow a wait-and-watch policy. However, the downturn has had a positive effect in verticals such as manufacturing, which are adopting the technology to drive efficiencies and productivity. KEY BUSINESS CHALLENGESTHAT RTLS ADDRESSES Frost & Sullivan research identifies the key business challenges that companies operating in various industries face and how RTLS helps overcome those challenges. Figure 3: Key Business Challenges – How RTLS Helps AUTOMOTIVE AEROSPACE HEALTHCARE LIVESTOCK MARITIME • Location information of raw materials, assets and tools are essential for lean manufacturing. • Challenge is to locate millions of parts and raw materials and thousands of vehicles. • WIP and assembly lines are complicated processes involving thousand of tools, assets and composites. • Finding the right materials, components and tools is the biggest challenge. • Delay of treatment as crucial time is lost looking for nurses and doctors as well as important devices during emergencies. • Patient safety is a key concern for hospital managements. • Locating and monitoring every bovine in large herds. • Studying the behavior of each bovine for greater visibility into health and fertility. •Yard management requires ports to handle thousands of multi-ton cargos and hundreds of ships. • Container security and secure movement of goods across borders is a priority. MANUFACTURING • Loss of production time searching for tools. • Theft of tools and materials cause monetary losses. • WIP tracking either manually or with bar codes is prone to errors. • Safety of workers is a challenge. HOW RTLS HELPS • RTLS significantly reduce the search time for tools, materials and assets by providing the location information. • RTLS improves WIP by providing real time status of work flow and material flow. • RTLS locates doctors and nurses in hospitals in times of emergencies and saves crucial time. • RTLS enhances patient security in hospitals by providing real time movements of patients. • RTLS provides an efficient livestock management for the dairy farms and ranches by locating and monitoring individual bovine in large herds. • RTLS enables faster and efficient management of cargos and ships in ports. Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis Because of the benefits that RTLS brings into businesses across industries, it has become the preferred technology for process automation. Although RTLS is expected to have increased adoption in all industries, healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, retail, and government are the high-growth areas currently and will likely experience a high growth rate in the medium and long terms.
  6. 6. Frost & Sullivan 6 Figure 4: RTLS Market Applications and Opportunity Areas • Parts and materials tracking • Vehicle tracking • Locating goods at immigration depots, cross-docking points, and containers in ports • Locating cattle • Studying real time behaviour of cattle to diagnose diseases Market Size High Low Low High GrowthPotential GOVERNMENT • Department of Defense • Federal agencies • Inmates tracking in prisons HEALTHCARE • Patient monitoring • Locating personnel • Locating assets MANUFACTURING • Work in progress • Locating tools and materials AUTOMOTIVE TRANSPORTATION AEROSPACE • Work in progress • Assembly line monitoring LIVESTOCK MANAGEMENT RETAIL • Studying the customer behaviour • Tracking high value assets Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis Sports is a new and upcoming vertical for RTLS and significant opportunities lie ahead for RTLS market participants in this vertical. The development of Zebra MotionWorks™ Sports Solution by Zebra Technologies is a latest and significant development towards this vertical and it has already set the trend. With the help of this solution, the sports organizations shall be able to gain real-time insight into tracking the location, speed and direction of athletes. This solution has currently been deployed into soccer and trials are on-going for football with future expansion into other sports as well. TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW The main objective of a RTLS solution is to track and locate assets and people in real time and to do so, the RTLS solution uses radio frequency (RF) signals as the communication medium. Even though a variety of technology options are available for developing a RTLS solution, the basic components of the solution remain the same. The RTLS tags attached to assets, processes or personnel communicate with the readers and the data is transferred to a centralized server to convert them into real-time meaningful business information. Since the RTLS tags are active tags, i.e., contain a battery, a two-way communication between the tags and the readers takes place, depending upon the requirements. The middleware plays a key role in integrating the RTLS tags and readers into the enterprise software systems, so that the RTLS solution functions seamlessly and the business system is able to read the information generated by the RTLS solution. The technology innovations by middleware providers have resulted in development of the latest generation of software platforms that contain the middleware and are easily integrated with enterprise systems. Since the different technologies operate on different protocols and frequency bands, there is no interoperability between various RTLS solutions except by a few vendors such as Zebra, who offer multiple RTLS technologies (WhereNet,Wi-Fi and UWB) that are supported by the
  7. 7. Seeking Sustainable Growth: Understanding the Value Real-Time Visibility Technology Brings to Business and People UWB RTLS is the solution that gives us the fidelity and accuracy that we need to deliver our core platform and solutions.”- Tim Morton, President and CEO of VisibleBrands same middleware. The most preferred technologies for RTLS used in the market at present are Wi-Fi and UWB. Wi-Fi RTLS takes advantage of existing wireless LAN; however, the Wi-Fi RTLS solutions are sometimes found to be less accurate and also have an impact on other data traffic users. Buildings, hospitals, warehouses and offices that already have a wireless LAN can use the same infrastructure to read the RTLS tags attached to various assets. The Wi-Fi RTLS tags can also be read by Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phones. Since the international standard for Wi-Fi is IEEE 802.11, the Wi-Fi RTLS providers that comply with this standard would have a solution that is compatible to any standard compliant Wi-Fi infrastructure worldwide. UWB RTLS functions by transmitting and receiving short duration packets of radio frequency, which gives them the maximum bandwidth and allows UWB technology to have the highest performance accuracy. The international UWB standard is IEEE 802.15.4.f, and the UWB RTLS providers that comply with this standard would have an infrastructure compatible to any standard compatible UWB infrastructure in the world. WhereNet RTLS follows the ISO/IEC 24730-2 protocol and the tags used are active RFID tags. This allows WhereNet to achieve a larger read range and, hence, is extremely useful in indoor and outdoor applications, especially in yards, ports, warehouses, etc. Figure 5: Performance Comparison of Technologies Most Preferred for RTLS Solutions Standard Frequency Accuracy Range Battery Life Best fit for UWB RTLS IEEE 802.15.4.f 3.1 GHz -10.6 GHz Up to 200 meters Up to 7 years Indoor and outdoor applications across all industries. 30 centimeters˜˜ WhereNet RTLS 2.4-2.483 GHz 280-1750 meters Up to 5 years Indoor and outdoor applications across all industries. ISO/IEC 24730-2 3 meters Wi-Fi RTLS 2.4/5 GHz Up to 150 meters Up to 5 years Indoor and outdoor applications across all industries. IEEE 802.11 1 meter in some cases 1-3 meters, Zigbee RTLS 2.4 GHz Up to 100 meters Up to 7 years Indoor applications primarily in hospitals. IEEE 802.15.4 1.5 meters Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis Zigbee RTLS follows the international 802.15.4 IEEE Zigbee standard. The mesh networks of low-powered sensors allow Zigbee RTLS to achieve high accuracy in indoor applications, such as hospitals. Zigbee RTLS is not quite used at present; however, the latest easy-to-install solutions developed by market participants are making this technology popular for healthcare.
  8. 8. Frost & Sullivan 8 COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE AND VALUE PROPOSITION Frost & Sullivan’s research not only brings to light the advantages and functionality of RTLS, but also analyzes the capabilities of the leading RTLS market participants, and how their products and services alleviate their customers’ business challenges. Product performance is a key competitive factor and the market participants continuously strive to develop better RTLS solutions with ongoing research and development. Performance of an RTLS tag is measured by its high accuracy; capability of locating assets within close proximity; ability to read a bigger range;ability to perform in tough environmental conditions such as liquid, concrete and metals; and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and longer battery life. The leading solution providers today include Zebra Technologies Corporation, Ubisense, Ekahau, Inc. and AeroScout Inc. While Ekahau and AeroScout provide Wi-Fi RTLS tags compatible to IEEE 802.11 standard, Awarepoint offers a Zigbee standards-based software solution and Ubisense provides UWB RTLS tags. ZebraTechnologies is the only vendor that manufactures multiple RTLS tags based on WhereNet,Wi-Fi and UWB technologies. Zebra UWB tags are compatible to international UWB Standard IEEE 802.15.4.f as well as ISO-24730-61 Draft International standard, and Zebra WhereNet tags are compliant with both ISO/IEC 24730-2 and IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi technology specifications. The availability of a strong middleware and software solution is equally important for a smooth functioning of the RTLS technology. It is essential to have a robust, interoperable and scalable software solution that enables seamless integration in order to achieve an optimum performance level as well as support future project expansions. An innovative and highly scalable software has the capability of supporting business expansions beyond the original scope. The leading RTLS software providers are Zebra Technologies Corporation, Ubisense, Ekahau, Inc., AeroScout Inc. and Awarepoint Corporation. Zebra Technologies and Ubisense are the leading UWB-based software providers. Zebra Technologies’ software also supports EPC Gen2 Passive RFID.
  9. 9. Seeking Sustainable Growth: Understanding the Value Real-Time Visibility Technology Brings to Business and People Company Technology Support Products and Services Industries Served Deployment Size Zebra Technologies Corporation UWB WhereNet Wi-Fi Active RFID Passive RFID Tags Software System Integration Readers Printers Manufacturing Healthcare Retail Transportation & Logistics Defense Aerospace Automotive Maritime Livestock Management Sports Over 1.2 million tags deployed. Around 1000 customers including 7 of the top 10 automotive OEM and the largest aerospace manufacturer. STANLEY Healthcare Solutions- Aeroscout Inc. Wi-Fi Passive RFID Tags Software System Integration Healthcare Transportation & Logistics Manufacturing Chemicals Oil & Gas Automotive Aerospace Mining Semiconductor Retail More than 800 customers; deployments in more than 500 hospitals Ubisense Ltd. UWB Tags Sensors Software Systems Integration Manufacturing Automotive Aerospace Transportation Energy Over 500 customers; more than 350 installations; customers include 8 out of top 15 auto manufacturers Ekahau Inc. Wi-Fi Tags Software System Integration Healthcare Retail Logistics Manufacturing Government Oil & Gas Mining Energy Education More than 1,400 installations; over 10,000 users Awarepoint Corporation Zigbee Software Healthcare Installations in more than 150 healthcare facilities; integrated delivery network across 34 hospitals and 298 medical offices Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis
  10. 10. Frost & Sullivan 10 According to Frost & Sullivan, seamless integration and high-quality, post-deployment service are other key competitive factors. In today’s competitive business age, end users look for a holistic solution and want to avoid the hassle of approaching the individual service providers separately. Hence, it is highly recommended that the various tags, hardware and software providers partner with each other and also with system integrators to reach out to clients. As a majority of the market participants do not have the right kind of expertise in all types of products and services, they follow a combination of distribution models that include partnering with system integrators, value-added resellers,original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), original design manufacturers (ODMs), and sometimes direct deployments by reaching out to the clients. Figure 7: RTLS Market-Global Distribution Structure System Integrators Software Algorithm Developers OEMs and ODMs Value-added Resellers Direct Sales RTLS Tags and Hardware Manufacturers End Users Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis However, the leading market participants that offer RTLS tags and a software suite mostly have the right kind of system integration expertise to do its own deployments. Zebra Technologies, Ubisense, Ekahau and AeroScout are examples of leading companies doing a majority of direct sales. Pricing is another important deciding factor. As the overall cost of acquiring a RTLS solution is still higher than more traditional technologies such as barcodes and Passive RFID, end users would like to compare the investment cost with the return on investments (ROI) made. However, in very critical business applications where RTLS is an absolute necessity, pricing is not a major deciding factor. The end users measure their ROI in terms of man hours saved, money saved by reducing loss and damage of assets and inventories, and increase in profit margins by increased sales. The various market participants follow multiple pricing models. As RTLS is becoming popular and the deployments are increasing in volume, the prices of tags have reduced.
  11. 11. Seeking Sustainable Growth: Understanding the Value Real-Time Visibility Technology Brings to Business and People Figure 8: Evolution of Convergence Between Product Strategy and Commercialization Create value recognition for customers across industries, decrease time to market, stay ahead of the innovation curve, more customer-centric product offerings, continually create sustainable demand 2017-2020 Mass Production 2012 Adoption Gap ValueCreating Solutions Manufacturing Strategies Overcome price and size challenges, increase functionality and support for customers, ensure scalability of software solutions for higher commerical applications, set standards Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis HIGHLIGHTS OF ZEBRA RTLS BEST PRACTICES Retail Case Study-VisibleBrands™ Client Challenge VisibleBrands™ is an impression-based digital advertising solution provider for the retail sector, primarily grocery and drug stores. The traditional marketing channels for retail are fragmented, and advertising through online, social media and mobile phones are not effective anymore. The focus has increasingly been on in-store marketing as the purchasing decision moments happen at the store shelf. The indoor location is the backbone of how VisibleBrands serves offers, content and promotion right at the shelf. The retail outlets, with ubiquitous metal shelves, freestanding product displays and other physical assets, are a difficult environment for a majority of RF-based solutions. The biggest challenge for VisibleBrands was to develop a cost-effective, efficient and scalable location-based solution that achieves the real-time accuracy standards. VisibleBrands focused on solutions that have been commercially hardened and after conducting an exhaustive review of what was available, VisibleBrands chose to go with Zebra’s RTLS solution. Zebra’s Solution VisibleBrands uses Zebra’s Dart UWB RTLS solution in conjunction with its back-end media platform and location engine. At the core of the location system, VisibleBrands uses the Dart tags that are embedded in each shopping cart and basket in the retail stores. The dart tags allow VisibleBrands to treat every cart and basket as a connected mobile device on its network. The Dart sensors are deployed throughout the physical domain of the retail store and allow VisibleBrands to capture the X-Y location of the tags and hence the carts and the baskets in real time.
  12. 12. Frost & Sullivan 12 “Zebra is a fantastic partner. Zebra has tailored and optimized their solution to suit our needs and we are very appreciative of that. They have shown significant commitment as an organization to ensure that their solution works well and we are very pleased.” – Tim Morton, President and CEO of VisibleBrands TheVisibleBrands vPathSM compiles and processes the location data in real time and generates the consumer behavior matrix. Since VisibleBrands’ back-end system is connected to the retailers’ systems,such as point-of-sale data,it has all the purchase data and intelligence on the base line lift in dollars and units. VisibleBrands is able to measure and link all this information back to the vPath analytics. The Outcome Zebra Dart UWB RTLS solutions helpedVisibleBrands transform the retailers into publishers. The partnership betweenVisibleBrands and Zebra allows retailers to: • Study the shopper behavior; • Better merchandise their products with improved store layouts; and • Create impression-based digital coupon campaigns. CONCLUSION Although RTLS is still in its infancy stage when compared to other wireless technologies, Frost & Sullivan uncovered no notable hindrances to growth in the medium and long terms. Most wireless track-and-trace technologies promote themselves as game-changers; however, when it comes down to measuring the results, RTLS is clearly the winner with the most satisfactory results achieved. RTLS is a great business intelligence tool that helps users streamline operations, increase asset utilization, and enhance productivity, all of which results in tangible benefits and substantial increase in ROI. A big concern is the dearth of solution providers with multiple interoperable technologies under the same roof. Current solutions in the market mostly focus on single protocols. Support of more than one protocol by a company like Zebra Technologies is an example of the direction that the industry is headed. From an end-user perspective, it is crucial to measure and understand the total cost of ownership and the results RTLS can deliver. End users with successful deployments clearly understand what RTLS solution providers bring to the table by asking tough questions before implementation and then building a partnership with RTLS solution providers. Companies that want to stay ahead of the competition need to understand that RTLS is a unique asset management approach for their businesses, which will provide a more efficient, effective, and easier way to keep track of their resources by giving them better visibility. Embracing RTLS will have a profound impact on today’s businesses, and it can define and change the course of success for them.
  13. 13. 877.GoFrost • About Frost & Sullivan Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants.For more than 50 years,we have been developing growth strategies for the Global 1000,emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organization prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies? Contact Us: Start the Discussion For information regarding permission, write: Frost & Sullivan 331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100 MountainView, CA 94041 SiliconValley 331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100 MountainView, CA 94041 Tel 650.475.4500 Fax 650.475.1570 San Antonio 7550 West Interstate 10, Suite 400, San Antonio,Texas 78229-5616 Tel 210.348.1000 Fax 210.348.1003 London 4 Grosvenor Gardens London SW1W 0DH Tel +44 (0)20 7343 8383 Fax +44 (0)20 7730 3343 Auckland Bahrain Bangkok Beijing Bengaluru Bogotá Buenos Aires Cape Town Chennai Colombo Delhi / NCR Detroit Dubai Frankfurt Iskander Malaysia/Johor Bahru Istanbul Jakarta Kolkata Kuala Lumpur London Manhattan Mexico City Miami Milan Mumbai Moscow Oxford Paris Pune Rockville Centre San Antonio São Paulo Seoul Shanghai Shenzhen SiliconValley Singapore Sophia Antipolis Sydney Taipei Tel Aviv Tokyo Toronto Warsaw Washington, DC