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The manufacturing survey was intended to forecast connected-factory deployments during that span of time. Approximately 64 percent of manufacturers participating in the study said they expect to be connected via RTLS, RFID or barcodes by 2022 - up 20 percent from the 43 percent currently using technology in this way.
The study, known as the "2017 Manufacturing Vision Study," focused on a five-year outlook for the manufacturing industry as a whole. Respondents were asked about their potential and existing uses of mobile technologies, such as smartphones and tablets, voice directions and recognition, wearable technologies, and s location tracking via RFID and RTLS — the latter category including active RFID and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
The survey respondents included 1,100 North American, Latin American, European and Asia-Pacific managers who authorize or influence the purchase of relevant manufacturing technologies. The interviews were conducted by Peerless Insights. The online study spanned the first quarter of 2017, across a wide range of business segments, including automotive, high-tech, food and beverage, tobacco and pharmaceuticals, says Jim Hilton, Zebra's global principal for manufacturing, transportation and logistics.
Of those participating in the study, 64 percent said location tracking was a core focus for their business, with plans to use RFID and real-time location systems or barcodes. By 2022, 54 percent of surveyed European manufacturers plan to use RTLS technology alone to collect critical data regarding assets, including location, stage and condition. Additionally, 51 percent of surveyed Latin American manufacturers and 48 percent of Asia-Pacific manufacturers plan to use passive RFID to optimize production of work in progress (WIP) by 2022.
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