USA: The market for disposable wireless medical body area network (MBAN) sensors within professional healthcare is in its earliest stages, but key foundations to support adoption are now in place. There is also tremendous potential for adoption. So much so that by 2018, close to 5 million disposable sensors will be shipped even though MBAN sensors will have still barely penetrated the addressable market.
MBAN sensors will enable patient monitoring information such as temperature to be collected automatically from a wearable thermometer sensor. These devices will improve patient monitoring detail and free up nursing staff to concentrate on other aspects of care. By bringing the technology to disposable form factors MBAN sensors integrate especially well with the workflow of professional healthcare.
Over the next five years, a number of technology approaches will come to market, each competing to become a de-facto standard. “The market for disposable MBAN sensors will differ from the wider wearable wireless device market in its support for specific protocols,” says Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research. “Where Bluetooth Smart will dominate connectivity in the total wearable wireless device market, two competing approaches will be prominent in the disposable healthcare market over the next few years: proprietary and NFC.”
ABI Research believes this market specifically lends itself to targeted, proprietary offerings from existing equipment suppliers with the relationships and proven track records with healthcare clients. For its part, NFC offers significantly lower sensor costs and standardized connectivity to smartphones and tablets. However, it does not offer the same levels of automated data collection as rival technologies such as Bluetooth Smart or proprietary short-range wireless.
Established medical devices providers, GE Healthcare and Philips have already shown their interest in driving wireless MBAN adoption supporting an FCC ruling setting aside spectrum in the United States for MBAN devices.