The Rapidly Evolving RTLS Market

July 30th, 2020 | Featured Insights

Over the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic meaningfully altered the lives of millions of individuals around the globe and provided a strong impetus for accelerating the changing way we manage the flow and tracing of goods and services. With stay-at-home mandates and WFH policies becoming a norm, organizations are evaluating new avenues of delivery to obtain greater visibility into key assets, people (i.e. employees, consumers), and processes. In many ways, the recent shift in corporate behavior could accelerate the timeline of “Industry 4.0” and the adoption of IoT technologies (e.g. real-time location systems, or RTLS) beyond traditional industries such as healthcare and retail.



Prior to the COVID-19 global health crisis, large enterprise had already begun adopting real-time location systems to improve operational visibility. The Global RTLS market, currently estimated at over $4.3 billion, offers a variety of use cases across industries including:

While the application of RTLS varies slightly across these end markets, the technology has proven to play a substantial part in improving operational processes, workflows, safety, security, inventory management, or a combination of all of these leading to meaningful adoption across industry:



The introduction of more cost-effective solutions such as Wi-Fi and BLE, coupled with a better understanding of the technology’s ROI, are helping drive RTLS adoption.





While these additional RTLS applications provide ample opportunity for growth, they cannot be addressed through a “one size fits all” technology platform. Simply put, there is no single technology that can address the full range of location tracking requirements across the spectrum of RTLS adopters1. This has resulted in a range of solutions, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, that can help address the varying needs of RTLS users. Below you can find a summary of the most prominent RTLS technologies in use today:


Today, ancillary applications in areas such as inventory / logistics management, transportation, and industrial monitoring are propelling market growth. Analysts now expect 65% of enterprises will require location tracking equipment for its people and assets by 2022, up from less than 10% today1 and laying the path for meaningful RTLS growth.

While applications of RTLS vary across end markets, the technology has proven to play a substantial part in improving operational processes, workflows, safety and security, and inventory management, among other use cases. As Industry 4.0 continues to apply competitive pressure on organizations to implement automated and connected device technology, the adoption rate of real-time location systems is only expected to rise.


  1. Gartner Research: Magic Quadrant for Indoor Location Services, Global
  2. Infoholic Research: Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) Market – Global Forecast to 2024