Gartner is a leading research and advisory company with a finger on the pulse of the tech industry. Their industry reports are the gold standard for business leaders looking for insights into trends, emerging technologies and changes in the commercial landscape. From manufacturing and supply chains to sales and strategic planning, Gartner provides decision-makers with the tools and information they need to navigate the path forward.
In their latest report on Devices in tech, among other things, they note the profound impact that the COVID-19 has had on not just the way we live but the way we work and, by extension, the influence that has on the devices we use. In particular, Gartner points out that many verticals are now turning to solutions that involve devices that enable safe distancing and location tracking in the battle against the spread of the virus.
Containing the virus is more than corporate social responsibility for manufacturing plants, warehouses, distribution networks, office spaces, and other commercial properties. Participating in the fight against COVID is also more than part of an obligation to staff and visitors to keep them safe. As Gartner points out, it’s nothing less than mission-critical for businesses that are vulnerable to shutdowns caused by outbreaks.
But, as Gartner emphasises in their report, there is a field that is fast maturing at exactly the right time to help—location tracking.
The report notes that the sudden and welcome rise in the number of applications meant to assist in social distancing and contract tracing is driven by location technology.
This comes at a time when location tracking for other purposes—asset tracking, inventory, controlling secure areas, and much more—is becoming increasingly common across a wide range of verticals and business contexts. As Gartner points out, location tracking has become an “essential capability” and investing in it has become key to success in a post-Covid world.
Gartner places even more of a spotlight on location tracking by putting it at the very center of its “impact radar”, a representation of which technologies are positioned for arrival in the general consciousness now and which are still years away on the horizon. Location tracking is right there next to 5G and Edge AI—technologies primed for immediate and industry-changing applications.
This will come as no surprise to organizations that have already discovered the many uses of location tracking technologies. The massive installed base of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled devices continues to accelerate the easy adoption of tracking applications across industries and settings.
Facilities as varied as airports, universities and museums have found beneficial uses of location tracking in the form of wayfinding and room monitoring. Hospitals can track patients, staff and equipment, enabling them to improve the patient experience, enhance safety and reduce search times when every second counts. Industrial and manufacturing spaces can track and locate tools and machinery while monitoring access to hazardous areas. Even processes as simple as timeclock registration have been at once simplified and made more reliable by the introduction of digital tracking services powered by BLE.
The pivot to COVID-related applications has thus far been an easy one. Controlling room or building capacity, meeting space management, sanitization scheduling and verification, contact tracing in the event of a confirmed infection—all of this and more has come as a timely evolution of the applications of location tracking. Going forward into a post-COVID setting, location tracking applications will be key to maintaining new standards of ensuring a safe working environment, reducing the building carbon footprint, and improving employee experience.