Ultra-wideband indoor location technology ready to take off

October 31, 2016 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
According to ABI Research, ultra-wideband (UWB) indoor location technology is on the cusp of substantial market growth – forecasting that there is large opportunity for the high-accuracy, low-cost ultra-wideband radio technology in industrial and IoT markets, with total RTLS/asset tracking revenues to reach $15 billion by 2021.

In its research report, ABI Research uncovers a number of companies that it predicts will be very disruptive in this space. Decawave remains the biggest influencer, now shipping UWB ICs for less than $15 at scale. This opened the floodgates for a host of startups working with the technology for the first time to contend in the market.

Partners Decawave and Quantitec are making significant progress with the likes of Bosch, while Nanotron is a "20-year-old startup" that offers a well-thought-out embedded location platform. UWINLOC is another new startup that created a semi-passive UWB solution that can ultimately compete on price with passive RFID, while also providing similar benefits to an active technology through energy harvesting.

"High-precision UWB technologies are nothing new, with companies like Time Domain, Ubisense and Zebra Technologies being long-established vendors in the RTLS/asset tracking market, says Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. "Though no one ever doubted UWB's accuracy or ability to perform in challenging RF environments, the cost/accuracy trade-off previously limited this technology to very niche applications. But big change is now happening as startups invent ways to cost effectively implement the technology without compromising on performance."