Press release

An Impressive 24% of Location Companies Surveyed Now Offer Simultaneous Indoor and Outdoor Location Technologies

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Of the 205 companies surveyed in ABI Research’s latest Location
Technologies Supply Chain and Ecosystem Tracker, 24% of them are
currently offering solutions covering both indoor and outdoor location
services, according to ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory
firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative
technologies. The growing need for seamless indoor and outdoor
integration and supply chain visibility is expected to force more
companies at the lower layers of the technology supply chain to create
more flexible technology offerings.

Computing the position of a person or asset outdoors is usually done via
Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology, although in some
cases auxiliary technologies like cellular networks or to lesser extent
Low-Power Wide Area (LPWAN) solutions may also be used at lower tracking
accuracy. However, for indoors, GNSS signals do not penetrate well and
suffer from interference issues. For this environment, infrastructure
based on short-range wireless anchor points are the best option for
tracking end-devices in the vicinity. These anchor points can use a
variety of location technologies, including Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE),
Ultra-Wideband (UWB), RFID, or Wi-Fi. “As things stand, there is a hard
line between the indoor and the outdoor technologies and services used
for location use cases. Offering seamless tracking between these two
environments raises the possibility of having unprecedented visibility
into the supply chain, as any item can be tracked end-to-end between
factories, warehouses, and retailers up to the point-of-sale,” remarked
Henrique Rocha, Research Analyst at ABI Research. Some of the benefits
from acquiring visibility into the supply chain include more efficient
planning and less asset shrinkage, which quickly revert to business
owners in the form of ROI.

Yet, 63% of location companies featured in ABI Research’s Ecosystem
Tracker are involved with indoor solutions only. Indoor tracking is
still more demanding than outdoor tracking in the industrial and
logistics spaces as it often requires high accuracy and real-time
tracking capabilities of individual assets, as well as on-site dedicated
infrastructure. With a consolidating location ecosystem, however, it is
expected that more companies will turn to offering full supply chain
visibility solutions, which require seamless indoor/outdoor tracking.
While several companies offer both indoor and outdoor location solutions
separately, only few have managed to offer a single end-to-end solution
providing seamless indoor/outdoor tracking capabilities. Examples of
companies that have already taken the integration step and now offer
seamless location sensors across indoor and outdoor environments include
Estimote and Roambee. These sensors can be attached to individual assets
or pallets or to a vehicle. One of the most common combinations for
seamless asset tracking involves BLE communication for indoor tracking
and GNSS for outdoor tracking, with an LPWAN like LTE-M used to relay
location data.

Because different location technologies are often designed to operate in
specific environments and address specific needs and use cases, an
increasing number of technology suppliers are now opting for designing
solutions compatible with multiple technologies to give their clients
the flexibility to deploy these solutions across varied use cases and
applications. Ubudu and Ubisense are examples of companies working with
horizontal technology offerings or digital platforms compatible with
different location technologies. This approach will also enable
technology suppliers to generate scale, which will in turn help location
infrastructure to be deployed at lower price points. “Manufacturing and
warehousing verticals are some of the most technologically demanding in
the asset tracking space. In this ecosystem, companies stand out only
through scalable business models. One way of achieving scale is by
implementing seamless indoor and outdoor tracking. Solution providers
are not oblivious to this and by this time next year, we anticipate an
approximate 30% growth in the number of companies offering
indoor/outdoor location services,” Rocha concluded.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Location
Technologies Supply Chain and Ecosystem Tracker
market data report.
This report is part of the company’s Location
research service, which includes research, data, and
ABI Insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Market
reports present key data and forecasts for specific market
verticals or technologies.

About ABI Research

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