The worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) healthcare market is expected to be worth $136.8 billion (£97 billion) by 2021, according to forecasts by Allied Market Research. However, there are clearly some market challenges ahead.
Industry growth is being driven by the falling cost of sensor technology, the growing availability of wearables and improvements to healthcare in developing nations. However, underdeveloped IoT infrastructure, lack of expertise and security concerns will hold back the market somewhat.
Raj Samani, VP and CTO EMEA at Intel Security, told Internet of Business that the latter, in particular, provides a significant challenge to the industry.
“Networked healthcare and IoT have the potential to improve quality of life for millions, but we are recognising that increased technology uptake in this sector is expanding the current attack surface,” he said. “The health sector is opening itself up as a target to hackers, particularly as the value and volume of stolen healthcare data on the black market is increasing.”
Some of the report’s other key findings include that devices are projected to be the fastest growing area of the IoT healthcare market, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6 per cent between 2015 and 2021, while the Asia-Pacific region will experience the fastest growth rate geographically.
Healthcare becomes self-care with IoT
The research also indicated that IoT patient monitoring will represent the largest area of the market by 2021, valued at $72.7 billion (£51.4 billion). Patricia Adams, IT asset management expert at Landesk, told IoB that this is likely to involve a push towards more self-care IoT solutions.
“In a lot of cases, hospitals and healthcare organisations are also giving away health monitoring devices such as Fitbits to encourage patients to take better care of themselves and for the healthcare provider to monitor the patient’s health at home,” she said. “This not only gives them real-time information on things like blood pressure and heart rate, but it reduces the costs of the patient returning for emergency care as the devices are cheaper than having patients return for minor reasons.”
There are already a number of IoT healthcare solutions and the predicted market growth suggests that it won’t be long before wearables and remote sensors become everyday features in the medical profession.