Wi-Fi RTLS Vendors Target Vertical Markets

“While Wi-Fi RTLS vendors expand their markets horizontally, many will rely on healthy vertical markets for sustained growth,” according to ABI Research vice president and research director, Stan Schatt. “Although manufacturing will lead the vertical market for active RFID product sales, healthcare will continue to dominate vertical sales for Wi-Fi RTLS. Not all manufacturing environments lend themselves to Wi-Fi transmission, but healthcare was an enthusiastic early adopter of Wi-Fi applications, including voice over Wi-Fi. And revenue generated from healthcare purchases of Wi-Fi RTLS products will grow to over $264 million by 2012.”

Even though some manufacturing environments will not deploy Wi-Fi, new manufacturing market segments are growing, including pharmaceuticals and semiconductors. ABI Research believes that Wi-Fi RTLS revenue generated from manufacturing customers will grow to more than $136 million by 2012.

Wi-Fi RTLS vendors also use an ROI argument to sell systems. This argument works much more effectively when expensive equipment is being tracked by salaried employees. In a hospital, for example, these vendors point to costly medical equipment and the fact that employees need to track it, usually by leaving their desks and moving from area to area in search of it. This approach is time consuming; if the hourly rate is multiplied by the amount of time spent tracking-down such devices, the ROI becomes apparent. Similarly, in hospital environments, it is possible to quantify the amount of equipment that is needlessly re-ordered because the existing equipment cannot be located quickly.

“Wi-Fi RTLS equipment vendors have chosen a vertical market strategy,” Schatt continues. “While many of the outdoor-oriented verticals associated with proprietary RTLS are not adequately addressed by Wi-Fi RTLS equipment because of accuracy and range limitations, there are some definite sweet spots on which they are focusing their efforts.”

In a recent ABI Research report, Wi-Fi Real-Time Location Systems, we examine key competitive advantages and disadvantages of Wi-Fi RTLS products. The report traces in great detail the growth of individual product components such as tags, appliances, software, and professional services, and forecasts the revenue growth for each key product category.

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