Europe is set to be the next big growth market for M2M-enabled healthcare services, after North America, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan.
While the potential telehealth opportunity in North America is widely recognized, Europe has tended to lag in this area, with most M2M companies focused on the rollout of smart home, connected car and telematics services.
According to Frost & Sullivan, however, mobile network operators in Europe are well positioned to participate in shaping future healthcare delivery, as owners of the infrastructure needed to support services.
But they will need to overcome a significant degree of device fragmentation, notes Malgorzata Filar, a research analyst with Frost & Sullivan, if they are to take full advantage of the opportunity.
Operators must also develop an understanding of what are typically strict local regulations, and be capable of dealing with a broad range of industry stakeholders.
In addition, they will need to offer value-added services, along with basic connectivity, if they are to profit from the healthcare market.
“Providing value-added services such as legal compliance, analytics, consulting and integration will require the creation of a sustainable ecosystem of stakeholders and collaboration partners from both the healthcare and technology industries,” said Filar.
Frost & Sullivan also urges operators to build health-related resources and expertise so they can offer highly specialized M2M services.
“Designing a powerful M2M infrastructure supporting various healthcare needs and securing medical data hosting capabilities will also prove essential,” said Filar.
Frost & Sullivan estimates that M2M revenues generated by telecoms operators will rise from €600 million ($828 million) in 2010 to €2.6 billion in 2016.