A recent report by ABI Research, providing a broad overview of the mHealth industry, predicts extraordinary grown in health and fitness apps over the next five years.
The report, Mobile Devices and mHealth, includes forecasts for the next five years on factors such as regional smartphone adoption rates, app downloads, and wearable device usage among others. One major conclusion from the report is that the sports and health mobile application market will grow to over $400 million in 2016 – up from just $120 million in 2010.
Mobile health devices recently received a major boost with the incorporation of Bluetooth 4.0, which is expected to spur the development and launch of devices that will take advantage of the lower energy consumption. While much interest is focused on blood glucose monitors, remote monitoring of cardiac rhythms, and other similar parameters, one conclusion of this report is that some of the most impressive growth will be in health and fitness apps that are more directly consumer-oriented.
The report itself, for a rather hefty price, also addresses other questions like potential business models for wearable sensors, social factors driving adoption among consumers, and whether there are platforms other than smartphones that could support similar devices.
Jonathan Collins, principal ABI analyst, adds an interesting twist to the growth they predict in the health and fitness app market:
“As applications increasingly become part of a bundle that ships with wearable devices, revenues from mobile applications will lag behind the growth in app downloads. Mobile application downloads will actually grow at nearly twice the rate of revenues between 2010 and 2016, with more than a billion downloads annually by 2016.”
Part of the reason that adoption will grow out of proportion to revenue is that they predict this technology will be increasingly bundled with devices, reducing the revenue derived from the app itself. This pressure on the pricing of apps is certainly something that is a broader trend among medical apps in general.
Collins further explains how the market is evolving due to new technology that increasingly enables more things to be connected at once and with more precision.
“Downloadable apps are moving the sports tracking device market from proprietary devices to mobile phones, but adoption has been limited by the data they can collect. However, with the connectivity that Bluetooth Smart will embed in mobile handsets, wearable devices will bring greater detail to mobile handsets.”
The imedicalapps team has previously reported on how mobile medical devices are becoming an important tool in medicine, and we noted that a critical element in the design and deployment of next generation wireless mobile connectivity is the ability to leverage a common infrastructure for all connected care solutions, both wired and wireless.
With the advancement of such technologies like Bluetooth Smart, progress is being made on building a solid infrastructure. Time will tell whether the predictions made by the ABI Research report will come to pass, although the initial outlook is positive.