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August 11, 2021
The total addressable market for asset tracking and inventory management is projected to reach $40 billion by 2027 (4), largely on the back of falling prices for tracking infrastructure. With less expensive tags, more precise tracking capabilities, and heightened connectivity options asset tracking is quickly becoming a viable undertaking for business of all sizes.
Asset tracking is no longer a geolocation tool. Asset tracking in combination with cloud technologies, 5G, and advanced analytics tools allows businesses to obtain valuable insights for optimizing operational efficiency. Additionally, as assets move through their life cycles, tracking and monitoring technologies can be used to assess asset health. Enabling assets with data transmission capabilities permits reporting of component statuses. This allows for root cause analysis and failure pattern detection thus allowing operators, OEM manufacturers, and service providers to avoid downtime and maintain asset safety (4).
With the advent of low cost, customizable cloud-based analytics suites, asset tracking solutions have become more feasible. Furthermore, 5G technology stands to enhance connectivity, broaden geographic scope, and set new reliability baselines for asset tracking solutions. Private 5G, secure networks that enable secure voice and data transmission to edge devices will further enable the mass tracking and monitoring of assets.
The starting point of for asset tracking is data collection. Driven by reduced costs of IoT connected sensors, businesses are beginning to incorporate connected devices into their manufacturing and supply chain. As such, IoT devices have flooded the market, suddenly offering the capability to connect essentially any asset to the internet. Use cases range from inventory tagging upon warehouse entry to internet connected petroleum mining indicating the broad range of applicable industries.
With sensors in place, several technologies have arisen to connect asset tracking data to centralized analysis platforms. The field is segmented into two categories: short-range and long-range tracking solutions.
Within warehouse logistics and manufacturing settings, short range trackers have become the technology of choice enabling precise, albeit expensive tracking of important assets using small tags. Although precision and cost vary, technologies like passive RFID, Bluetooth, and Ultrawideband (UWB) triangulate location based on signal strength enabling detailed (within 2 meters) tracking.
By contrast, freight tracking and fleet management purposes require a long-range tracking solution. Cellular, GPS, and Satellite Tracking are now capable of placing an asset within a few meters of its location and transmitting that real time data to an analysis platform.
The global revenue of the asset analytics industry alone has more than doubled since 2015, as firms have shifted towards AI/ML as a core component of creating and examining business strategy. Nowhere is this more relevant than in remote monitoring – the practice of assessing asset functionality through IoT sensors and subsequent data analytics. Companies that have digitized and automated their maintenance processes now show a significant increase in labor productivity and a 20 to 30 percent reduction in maintenance costs. As a result, business efficiency has boomed, leading to strong projections for remote monitoring software over the coming years.
At the center of growth in asset tracking is the rollout of 5G. The connective technology significantly improves speed, latency, and reliability thereby enabling more data intensive, time sensitive use cases. Legacy connectivity options have several major drawbacks including interference, cumbersome installation progresses, and high costs when deployed at scale. The introduction of 5G, will provide a reliable solution for the communication at the center of asset tracking and monitoring.
Spectrum auctions are already underway, 5G enabled cellular devices are in market, and consumer networks are beginning to come online. Although most 5G technologies are presently focused on the B2C sphere, network operators are seeking to optimize operational costs which will naturally result in widespread implementation in connected manufacturing and industry 4.0 settings.
Enterprises can opt for private 5G networks, either contracting with a mobile operator, or by building and maintaining their own 5G network infrastructure. Over 100 companies have already begun testing private 5G network deployments (5). These private networks can be customized by site to ensure maximum coverage, enable increased data security, and can be made to run on a dedicated spectrum, thereby reducing the risk of variable services levels. Such technology will foster innovation, enable new use cases, and trigger widespread adoption until it becomes standard.
Since 2012 VC investment has increased almost 10x, with significant M&A starting to enter the space. Firms like Samsara represent the industry lead, pushing to integrate cost-effective IoT solutions across all manner of different industries. As such, Cascadia expects to facilitate significant venture capital and private equity investment and M&A exits in the coming 5 years as the industry grows to over $500M invested annually.
Our team would be happy to speak with you about how these factors may impact your company’s current and future capital raising or M&A opportunities. You can learn a bit more about our team’s broader Energy & Applied Technology expertise on our website or reach out using the contact information below.
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