“On demand.” It’s a term widely used to describe the state of life today. We watch on-demand television, use on-demand transportation services, book our travel with on-demand lodging providers and even schedule doctors’ consults on-demand. We – as businesses – increasingly provide our goods and services on demand because we – as consumers – expect to have access to anything and everything we want precisely when we want it. Including data!
The commoditization of the internet and the recent proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) has simultaneously turned simple gadgets and appliances into powerful information sources and generators. Gartner predicts that 14.2 billion connected things will be online this year, and that the total number of devices in use will reach 25 billion by 2021. Most of us probably have a collection of digital devices in differing shapes, sizes and voices on standby (thanks to the aid of Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Samsung’s Bixby among others) within an arms-length away at all times to fulfill our every whimsical inquiry, to help us from getting “lost” and to keep us connected to the things we’re interested in.
Why “On Demand” Location Data is in High Demand by Global Industries
If we look anecdotally at the data that we, as a society, demand from our mobile and IoT devices on any given day, it would be fair to say that we are typically trying to locate something. From tangible insights such as the news, quick fix solutions or bank account balances to the physical location of our dogs, kids, doctors’ offices and keys, it is easy to find what we need or want in the very moment we want or need it.
This same notion is becoming true in business.
There are several data-driven technology platforms that enable organizations to better manage and optimize critical assets and create more efficient workflows. And at this moment, location solutions are garnering significant attention and investment. According to the assumption that Gartner used when developing its 2019 Magic Quadrant for Indoor Location Services, Global: “By 2021, over 65% of enterprises tracking hardware assets will utilize more than three technologies (up from less than 5%).” *
Manufacturers, warehouse and distribution center operators, transporters and even retailers – those with precious cargo to protect – undoubtedly understand the value of asset track and trace technologies. As do those in healthcare and agriculture. For example, some dairy farming businesses are using sensors hung around the necks of livestock to capture data on each animal’s movement patterns, eating behavior and overall health. These are insights that help farmers optimize milk production.
But the utilization of game-changing location technologies is still in its infancy if you consider their potential range of applications across business and markets globally.
Searching for Proof of Solution Potential and Performance Beyond the Rankings
Though reports such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant are valuable tools to leverage when evaluating your technology options, there are several questions you should ask about a solution provider’s engineering model, technology roadmap and long-term services and support offerings and other criteria to consider before making a final decision. This comprehensive online guide is a great resource for both.
Just remember: The type of data you will need “on demand” will evolve and grow as your inventory and asset portfolio grows, which means you will need long-term help refining and scaling your location services platform. Plus, location services implementations can become complex given the size and reach of many manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, transportation, retail, healthcare and agriculture operations.
It will be just as important to pick the right solution provider as will be to pick the right solution, especially if you want to avoid wasteful rip-and-replace deployment rounds. Use the right resources to satisfy your need to confidently find the right partner and platform the first time on demand.
Are you attending the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference in Phoenix, AZ, on May 13-16, 2019? Stop by Zebra booth #330 to speak with one of our experts about your current track and trace challenges. They will help you identify the indoor location service solutions that will improve your visibility and support your business goals.
*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Indoor Location Services, Global, Tim Zimmerman, Annette Zimmermann, 28 January 2019
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