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IoT Technology Apps are Expanding in Healthcare Sector

Across the globe, wireless technology vendors and telecom service providers are assisting companies in the healthcare sector to develop new telecare system applications. The huge amounts of data that's being created has fueled demand for cloud-based storage solutions.

It's all part of the growing Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem that's growing rapidly during 2016 to support these trends. The number of people monitored using mobile telecare systems in Europe and North America was about 450,000 at the end of 2015, according to the latest worldwide market study by Berg Insight.

Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 percent, this number is expected to reach almost 3.4 million by 2021. There are several types of monitoring systems that can help elderly and people with cognitive disabilities to live independently in their homes for as long as possible.

These assistance systems are usually called telecare systems, telecare alarms or social alarms in Europe and Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) or medical alert systems in North America.

Market Development for Telecare Applications

Berg Insight estimates that there were close to 5.0 million telecare alarms in the EU28+2 and about 2.2 million PERS systems in North America at the end of 2015. The penetration among people 65 years and older is typically 3 to 5 percent in many countries in Western Europe and North America.

"Many insurance and social care programs now aim to reduce healthcare costs by providing care at home by using technologies like telecare and telehealth systems," said André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight.

Berg analysts believe that telecare service providers and healthcare organizations are showing increasing interest in mobile telecare solutions that are better suited for some users than traditional systems that only work indoors.

As an example, mobile telecare systems are portable and incorporate cellular connectivity as well as GPS to support the needs of elderly with active lifestyles.

New Wearable Device Use Cases

Some mobile telecare systems are also designed to assist people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia that are prone to wandering, as well as people with autism and epilepsy or other medical conditions such as certain forms of cardiac arrhythmia and diabetes.

Several companies are now offering telecare systems in the form of wristwatches or wearables. Many different form factors are likely to co-exist since the needs of the users can vary considerably depending on their age, medical condition or cognitive ability.

Moreover, the product design is also becoming more important for devices aimed at the growing number of active seniors. "The look and feel of mobile telecare devices can be very important in some segments since many users do not want to feel embarrassed by wearing a device that can be perceived as age-defining," concluded Mr. Malm.

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