This article was originally published on MARTECH TODAY by Greg Sterling.

Unacast’s Q2 proximity directory looks beyond marketing at how location technologies are bringing greater efficiency to a wide range of industries.Proximity and beacon data platform Unacast has released its Q2 Proximity.Directory report. The report goes beyond marketing use cases to look at how proximity sensors are being deployed for “asset tracking” (people and places) across industries such as healthcare, logistics, manufacturing and others (marijuana is one of the featured categories).

The central assertion of the report is that proximity technologies, which here include WiFi, NFC, RFID, beacons and geofencing, can help monitor the movements and location of people, vehicles and objects for greater efficiency and cost savings:

$9.1 Trillion worth global logistics industry will save billions by increasing transparency: beacons can monitor temperature, humidity, weight, interactions, and other required features of the tagged items and automatically report results to all involved players of the supply chain.

Manufacturers that implement beacons cut costs and improve efficiency by tracking material flow, queue times, and cycle times. After three months of testing, Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s leading aerospace and defense manufacturing companies has begun implementation of the asset-tracking beacon solution in their warehouses.

How is “asset tracking” being used in the burgeoning global marijuana-growing industry? Unacast says that beacons and other real-time location systems (RLTS) are helping track plants and their byproducts through the supply chain — “in real time from growers to dispensary.” This helps save labor costs, to the tune of 42 percent, according to the summary in the report.

Unacast says there are now more than 15 million proximity sensors being used in various contexts across the globe. That’s up from just over 13 million in Q4 2016.

Overall, the US is the leading market for proximity technology. It has 35 percent of global sensor deployments, followed by the UK and Canada.

Proximity.Directory began as a beacon report and has expanded its focus and scope over time. But the report still tracks beacon vendors, among other proximity sensor technologies. Accordingly, Unacast reports that remains the leading provider of beacon hardware.

Here are the global top five: (Poland)
Estimote (UK)
Cisco Meraki (US)
BlueUp (Italy) — displacing Accent Systems (Spain)
Sensoro (US)
Among software platforms offering indoor or proximity solutions, US-based Swirl remains the leader:

Swirl (US)
Tamoco (UK)
Beaconinside (Germany)
Spark Compass (US)
Proxama (UK)
The report looks at proximity technology usage across 19 verticals. Notwithstanding the theme of this quarter’s report (B2B asset tracking), retail and shopping remains the top use case for proximity tech and beacons. That’s followed by hospitality, sports and restaurants.

The graphic below compares Q2 2017 (top bar) with Q2 2016.

Many of the proximity use cases in the various industries above are tied now to analytics, rather than push notifications to consumers in real time, which was the original scenario envisioned for beacon technology.

This article was originally published on MARTECH TODAY by Greg Sterling.


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