The healthcare market is one that's in constant flux. Between the advances of new technology, the advances of government regulation, and the advances of new methods in interaction with patients, healthcare is a rapidly changing field. A new report from Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert), meanwhile, shows just how deeply this field is changing, and according to this report, one of the biggest changes will come from machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity.
The study in question, dubbed “Embracing M2M Opportunities in Healthcare: The Case of Orange Business Services and Telefonica (News - Alert),” took a closer look at a pair of mobile network operators (MNOs) that were bringing telecommunications services into the healthcare market, and how the addition of telecommunications was impacting the broader healthcare field. What the study found was that, while North America was still front and center for bringing M2M into the healthcare arena, Europe was very much in the hunt, and close behind the North American market, with estimates of the M2M market's revenues projected to reach fully €2.6 billion by 2016. A big number by itself, but even bigger when compared to 2010, in which said market was valued at around €600 million.
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Since many European telecommunications firms now have a unit devoted strictly to the advancement of the M2M market, this provides plenty of infrastructure from which said MNOs can bring M2M solutions and capabilities to other businesses. That's a great step, but it's a step that only improves when it’s considered that many of these mobile businesses have both customer bases in businesses throughout Europe, and also have name recognition in the region. Thanks to the previous customer contact, the MNOs have the necessary insight that allows for highly-tailored solutions and added value potential.
These are big advantages for the MNOs, and in turn, for the healthcare businesses in line to take advantage of the kinds of solutions that M2M can offer in the healthcare field. Yet at the same time, the Frost & Sullivan study noted that there were some significant pitfalls afoot in terms of offering such services, specifically, the sheer amount of device fragmentation in the field and the varying platforms represented, as well as issues of regulation and the diffuse number of stakeholders involved in each industry. Essentially, to get through—according to Malgorzata Filar, information and communications technologies research analyst with Frost & Sullivan—not only will these issues have to be accommodated in a successful M2M project, but the truly successful M2M project will offer significant added value besides.
Indeed, this might be the case with any new technological advance, but here it's especially true. With so many stakeholders involved, proving the value of an M2M initiative is going to be downright vital in order to keep all those stakeholders convinced. Being able to work with all the different devices in the field will be no less so, and in the end, it's going to take quite a bit of effort and careful planning to ensure that M2M catches on at the level some project.
But with the proper care taken going into the project, as well as clear additions in terms of value, there are likely to be several success stories coming out of the M2M expansion into the healthcare market. This is a technology that's poised to fundamentally change how doctors deal with patients, how hospitals deal with doctors, and how even doctors deal with each other. Big changes are afoot thanks to this new technology, and it's likely to, ultimately, make the healthcare field a better place overall.
Edited by Alisen Downey