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Real Time Location Systems: enhancing performance and profitability for business organisations

JUL 10, 2024 | Nikita Singh| Joydeep Bhattacharyya
region: ALL Transportation & StorageRetail & WholesaleConstructionManufacturingHealth & Social Care Internet of ThingsHyperconnectivity

Transforma Insights’ recent report, 'Real Time Location Systems: 14.7 million devices to support resource optimisation and asset tracking' estimates that the total number of connected Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) devices will reach 14.7 million in 2033. This blog defines RTLS, discusses the communication technologies used to support these systems, and the major benefits of deploying these systems.

What are Real Time Location Systems?

Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) refers to the use of trackers that are attached to pieces of equipment or employees, to locate them with great accuracy, in real-time. These solutions are typically used within specific areas (such as hospitals, building sites and factories), with dedicated infrastructure to support them.

Which communication technologies support RTLS?

Short-range technologies including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Active RFID can be used to support real-time location systems, since most of them are deployed in confined areas. Besides, UWB is another kind of short-range communication technology that is used since it consumes very little amount of energy and can be used for high-bandwidth communications.

What are the advantages of using Real Time Location Systems?

Deploying Real Time Location Systems have three major benefits for business organisations: workflow optimisation, cost optimisation, and safety, each of which is discussed in the sections below.

Workflow optimisation

One key advantage of using Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) is their ability to track assets like components and tools with precise real-time accuracy. This capability assists operators in comparing processes and measuring performance, leading to enhanced efficiency. For example, Harley Davidson revamped its Pennsylvania plant, outfitting all machinery and logistics equipment with sensors and location tracking. This change slashed the lead time for custom motorcycles from 21 days to just six hours. With over 1,000 configuration options per model, one motorcycle now reaches the assembly line every 89 seconds.

Real Time Location Systems are also useful in the healthcare industry since they support granular contact tracing. These systems can accurately identify adherence and violations of quarantine protocols within a medical facility. Depending on the movement of people, they can also demarcate the areas that are likely to be contaminated, which reduces the chances of spreading of infections. Besides, medical facilities often waste significant time (more than 40% according to Automation Anywhere) on manual tasks, such as data entry and updating errors from manual entry. Since RTLS ensures automated and real-time updates, they reduce errors and make processes more accurate, efficient, and agile.

Cost optimisation

Real Time Location Systems support inventory and warehouse management across multiple industries including manufacturing, healthcare, and educational facilities. Tracking valuable items using RTLS can generate alerts if they leave their specified areas, reducing the number of misplaced or stolen items in a facility. Tracking the location of equipment can quantify used and unused items, which can identify both excess equipment and inventory shortages. For instance, Texoma Medical Center in Texas found a 74% surplus of PCA pumps after using RTLS and saved USD88,000 in new pump purchases and USD3,000 monthly in rental costs. It also cut retrieval time from 20-30 minutes to just 5 minutes per item.

Reducing the time spent in locating assets increases workers’ efficiency (since they have to spend less time in locating items) and increases financial expenses due to asset loss. For instance, Wake Forest Baptist, a medical research institute, saved over USD3 million annually, 10,000 staff hours per year, and reduced patient waiting times by up to 50% by utilising RTLS. It tracked over 17,000 pieces of medical equipment across 40 buildings, leading to a decrease in excess equipment purchases and rental expenses.


RTLS plays a crucial role in ensuring safety in healthcare facilities, and warehouses and manufacturing plants.

Healthcare facilities

In healthcare facilities, the condition and location of essential medical equipment such as oxygen masks, intravenous pumps, scalpels, wheelchairs, IVs, and monitors must be tracked and maintained. Implementing an RTLS solution in healthcare enables automated tracking of equipment locations and maintenance history, reducing the risk of using improperly sanitised tools due to human error. This also helps in minimising contamination.

Warehouses and manufacturing plants

Enhanced safety is a significant benefit in warehouses and manufacturing plants as well, particularly where moving equipment like forklifts are present. Tracking employees and hazardous machinery helps reduce risk by issuing alerts and lowering the likelihood of injuries and losses due to extended downtime. Additionally, tracking worker locations enables the minimisation of exposure to harmful environments and promotes compliance with safety regulations.

Summing up: harnessing Real Time Location Systems for enhanced business performance

Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) offer businesses significant benefits, including workflow optimisation, cost savings, and enhanced safety. By accurately tracking assets and personnel in real-time, RTLS improves efficiency, reduces losses, and promotes compliance with safety regulations, making it a valuable solution for modern organisations.

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