cow against a blue sky with clouds
PHOTO: Ryan Song

The real-time location system (RTLS) market is predicted to grow to a staggering $8.79 billion by 2023, and as Gartner suggests, most of that will be driven by digital twin IoT solutions

Real-time location systems automatically identify and track objects within a confined space using an RTLS tag. Manufacturing, warehousing and intra-logistics are leading the way with use cases creating the highest ROI, by doing things like replacing manual Kanban with eKanban or developing digital twin IoT solutions that form a digital duplicate of the user’s factory. 

But some lesser-known and unexpected — and yet just as interesting — use cases will contribute to that colossal $9 billion pot.

Where Is the ROI in Tracking Cows?

Digitalization helps with improving many fields, and ironically, those fields can at times be literal ones, complete with livestock. 

With RTLS technology, ranchers can automatically track cows, both indoors and outdoors. By knowing the distance traveled, the ratio between laying and standing, as well as the number of entrances to the feed alley, it can help those ranchers determine the health of their animals. Additionally, one of the most interesting metrics integral to the algorithm for diagnosing a cow’s well-being is how sociable they are during the day — in other words, how many encounters they have with their “cow friends.”

This so-called Fitbit for cows combines all of this real-time gathered data and applies the AI-driven predictive algorithm to provide an accurate overview of the herd’s health status and, most importantly, triggers automatic notifications of any sicknesses likely to be afflicting the cows. An early diagnosis eliminates the risk of spreading diseases among the herd, decreases the cost of treatment and, most importantly, the level of antibiotics used that will end up in consumers’ hamburgers and steaks.

Related Article: What Happens When IoT, Big Data and Real-Time Location Systems Meet?

How Do You Create a Training Program That Is Never Obsolete?

When my nephew first saw a forklift in action in a warehouse, he thought operating one must be one of the most fun and enjoyable jobs. Of course a nine-year-old boy doesn’t realize how risky the job is, as they are often connected with serious injuries or fatalities. In the US alone, nearly 100,000 workers are injured per year due to improper training or sheer carelessness on the job. Taking into account the estimated number of forklifts in the US (855,900), this means that each year, more than 1 in 10 forklifts are involved in an incident. The risk of the job and the fact that it is also relatively not well-paid results in a high turnover of workers. Therefore, proper training is not only key for safety, but also to shorten the time for onboarding.

When it comes to using cutting-edge technology for improving the training and safety of employees, virtual reality (VR) is nothing thing in enterprises. And, in fact, many have already been using VR for forklift operators training for several years. 

But trainees always followed the “course” in a modeled environment, and such a model becomes obsolete the first moment it is implemented. That’s where RTLS comes in. Using RTLS, a trainee can drive their own forklift within a digital twin of their real facility — including a virtual and accurate reproduction of everything that is happening in real time within the warehouse where they will soon be working. Simply put, the trainee is experiencing the real factory environment. The ROI here is not only in shortening the training time, due to its high quality, but also the effective prevention of those injuries and fatalities.

Related Article: 6 Ways Businesses Are Using Augmented and Virtual Reality Today  

Digital Transformation Comes to Go-Carts?

While the use of real-time location data for the early-diagnosis of bovine disease or digital virtual training might be surprising, my last example is straightforward and easily applicable to any entertainment that involves movement. Equip go-carts with active ultra wideband (UWB) tags for tracking and cover the race-track hall with receivers and voilà, now you can provide live results on TV screens showing the current position of racers, as well as their performance metrics. And anyone can replay the current trajectory of the racer’s movement during their shortest lap and learn from it. That means you can be one step away from using AI to model the winning strategy, based on the acquired movement and acceleration data from the best racer.

Not only do real-time location systems increase productivity, decrease costs, boost engagement and ensure safety, the incorporation of new technologies such as UW (ultra-wideband) powered and TDoA (time difference of arrival) operated RTLS allows you to leverage these ROI-backed-up benefits in any conceivable industry. And with the limitless possibilities they present, it is only a matter of time before more surprising use cases appear around the corner.