Bluetooth Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL)
Powered by the latest release of the Bluetooth® Core specification and specific device profiles and services for ESL (Electronic Shelf Label) devices, Bluetooth ESL provides a highly secure, large-scale, low-power, interoperable solution for this huge market opportunity.
ESLs help retailers better manage their business and resources, and major retailers are pushing for standardization and interoperability. Current solutions are a proprietary mix of sub-gig, 2.4 GHz and infrared technologies. Bluetooth ESL is the first standardized implementation of ESL and has been developed in collaboration with major ESL suppliers and in accordance with the requirements of major retailers.
The total addressable market for ESLs is measured at approximately six billion. Analysts predict that by 2027, more than 100 million ESLs will be shipped using Bluetooth each year. However, these projections may turn out to be low.
Momentum for Bluetooth® ESLs will build up quickly. The ESL market is a limited ecosystem of large suppliers and technology priorities are set by large retailers with hundreds of stores and millions of potential devices to install. Major retailers are looking at and driving the need for standardization.
Recently, SES-Imagotag (one of the main influencers of Bluetooth ESL standardization) announced the next phase in their relationship with Walmart stores in the US This includes the implementation of Bluetooth ESLs in 500 of their stores over the next 12-18 months, representing approximately 60 million digital shelf labels in that implementation period.
Bluetooth technology and Ambient IoT
Ambient IoT can mean a lot to many people. For the Bluetooth SIG, Ambient IoT is the culmination of a decade-long movement Bluetooth has seen® LE is increasingly supporting ubiquitous, real-time IoT connectivity for almost everything. It’s a totally addressable market calculated in the trillions, and it will completely distort market forecasts.
Powered by low-cost, energy-harvesting or activated tags that can track the location, state and condition of any device, Ambient IoT devices are meant to vastly improve supply chains. The first focus is on fast chains with expired goods and/or significant returnable assets, such as food, pharma and manufacturing. Bluetooth technology is well positioned to lead the way with a standardized energy efficient solution capable of meeting the demands of the Ambient IoT.
According to ABI Research, 30 percent of food worldwide is never eaten. Locatible estimates that – in pharma, healthcare and manufacturing – up to 20 percent of medical equipment and goods are lost each year and up to 30 percent of time can be spent searching for equipment. Ambient IoT solutions can have a major impact in these areas, minimizing waste and improving operational efficiency.
Forecasts for Bluetooth® technology in this area are already healthy. When it comes to the Ambient IoT, we expect orders for wireless tags to run into the hundreds of millions, with half a billion location services devices shipping annually over the next five years. That’s almost 2.5x growth in 2027.
Ambient IoT will completely disrupt market forecasts, and taking these energy-efficient, battery-less tags into account in the future will require a new way of looking at market trends.
For more information about Bluetooth® forecasts and technology trends, check out the Bluetooth Market Update.