dogA pet tracking forecast from Berg Insight calls for the number of pets monitored using GPS locator devices in Europe and North America to increase at a 45% CAGR from 2016-2021. Total pets tracked will grow from around 300,000 as of year-end 2015 to 2.8 million by 2021, according to the pet tracking forecast.

There are twice as many pets in Europe and North America as there are children from 0-18 years old and most pet owners are passionate about them, the market research company points out. Many of these GPS-enabled pet locator apps also provide the ability to monitor and measure pets’ activities and health conditions, the market research company highlights in a press release.

Pet monitoring is just one nascent segment of the mobile locator and monitoring market Berg Insight believes has large market potential, however. Telecare and mobile workforce management also offer substantial opportunities for growth.

Beyond the Pet Tracking Forecast
Companies including Attracting, CareWhere, Kippy and Pawtrack intend to enter the market for pet locator and monitoring apps this year. Uptake has been constrained by lack of awareness, however, Berg continues. Active users numbered about 300,000 across Europe and North America as of year-end 2015.

There are some risks to Berg’s pet tracking forecast and its forecast for other mobile locator devices, however. Researchers note, for example, that monitoring devices and services will have to surmount several hurdles. These range from high prices to poor product performance due to technical factors such as battery life, size and weight, senior analyst André Malm was quoted as saying.

More generally, vendors that charge for locator apps are now facing competition from those that offer them free of charge. End-users’ willingness to pay is declining as a result, which has prompted vendors who charge, or have charged, end-users for locator apps to search for new sources of recurring revenue from related services, such as device management apps that monitor voice, data and app usage on children’s handsets.

Introduced in the 1990s, Internet apps and services that locate people, as well as monitor various types of activities and physical conditions, now range from those that locate family members to others that assist health and medical caregivers in taking care of seniors and patients. In addition, more than a dozen companies, including hereO, PocketFinder and Philip Technologies, have launched locator devices that track organizations’ assets or families’ pets and children, according to the fourth in Berg Insight’s LBS Series of market research reports.

Healthcare Applications
Locator device vendors focusing on health and medical care have introduced apps for caregivers who take care of people suffering from a variety of medical conditions, including autism and other cognitive disabilities, epilepsy and cardiac problems. Devices customized for use by caregivers taking care of seniors is another focal point. Collectively, these are generally known as telecare systems or social alarms in Europe and Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) in North America, Berg explains.

Berg Insight estimates there are more than 7 million users of first-generation telecare systems in Europe and North America.

Businesses that provide fleet and asset tracking services as well as those that specialize in IT and LBS are also making use of locator apps and services. In addition, vendors of mobile workforce management services aim to enable businesses to improve operational efficiency and focus more closely on managing employees individually. Savings are expected as a result of being able to better allocate or route employees, improve time verification and data collection.

Many companies have adopted smartphone mobile workforce management apps that are standardized in varying degrees, Berg notes. Businesses in the construction, logistics, distribution and field services sectors of the economy are among the leading adopters.

Furthermore, some mobile workforce management service vendors are offering lone worker protection services that aim to help assure employees’ security. Many of these rely on dedicated GPS location devices that incorporate alarm buttons and ¨man down¨ detection sensors. Berg Insight estimates that 3.0 million end-users were making use of workforce management and lone worker protection services in Europe and North America as of the end of 2015.

Image courtesy of flickr user Amanda Farah.

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