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Trends, new dynamics and expectations fueling the Bluetooth low energy (BLE) Beacon technologies



It is now obvious that, a set of dynamics converge; while others are shifting, when it comes to Bluetooth low energy (BLE) Beacon industry. 

ABI Research forecasts the amount of BLE beacon shipments made in the personal tracking, IoT, and real-time location system (RTLS)/asset tracking markets will easily surpass those in retail. 

The overall BLE beacon market continues to grow rapidly with shipments set to break 500 million units by 2021.

Retail is forecast to remain a major market today for BLE beacons. Personal tracking is seen now as the largest individual market of the group, with market leader Tile shipping over six million BLE beacons alone.

In RTLS/asset tracking, a range of new, high-accuracy BLE beacon technologies, designed specifically for this market, could offer a significant cost improvement on traditional technologies.

In the IoT space, ABI Research expects to see BLE combined with LPWAN technologies to support large scale deployments in smart cities.

As an emerging trend, we have the shift to software-based beacons, in which vendors leverage integrated BLE ICs as beacons and virtual beacons.

The retail market continues to be the big money generator in terms of overall revenue; however, the RTLS/asset tracking market may be a much better bet for hardware vendors, where the potential is huge and the revenue is tied up in hardware and software rather than services and advertising.

While the competitive landscape largely remains the same, the start-ups are developing proprietary solutions to meet specific market needs in terms of accuracy and cost.

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