One of the largest emerging applications for the Internet of Things is healthcare related technologies that enable remote monitoring and diagnostics. According to the latest market study by Berg Insight, around 4.7 million people in Europe were using connected care solutions at the end of 2013.
The term connected care refers to users of traditional telecare, next-generation telecare and telehealth solutions within the European countries where the study was conducted.
Until 2019, Berg Insight forecasts that the number of connected care users will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.2 percent to reach 13.7 million.
Traditional telecare is currently the largest and most mature of the three market segments. The next-generation telecare and telehealth market segments are in a more nascent stage but are entering a strong growth phase that is expected to last for many years to come.
The European connected care industry is facing major changes that will reshape the competitive environment for solution vendors and service providers during the coming years.
One of the main developments is the digitalization of telephone networks that already has started in several European countries.
Massive replacements of telecare equipment will be needed due to that analogue devices no longer function reliably when the public switched telephone network (PSTN) infrastructure is modernized.
According to the Berg assessment, the market is opening up to new types of solutions that can advance the delivery of care to the next level.
This includes next-generation telecare systems that support functionalities such as remote visits and video communication. All of these new services will be delivered via the public internet, and broadband access may be a requirement.
"There is a strong need for solutions that enable social care and healthcare services to be delivered more cost-efficiently without compromising the quality of care," said Lars Kurkinen, senior analyst at Berg Insight.
Berg believes that this need and demand will only grow stronger in the future as the European population structure ages and the prevalence of chronic diseases increases.