The next five years will see a major shift towards smartphone- based mHealth, where hardware attachments link to companion app on the smartphone, according to a new report from Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com).
The report forecasts that by 2018 there will be 96 million users of app-enabled mHealth and mobile-fitness hardware devices, up from 15 million this year. In the healthcare sector, app-enabled mHealth will be used to enable services ranging from remote patient monitoring to mobile ultrasound services.
However, Juniper Research found that it will be the mFitness sector that will experience strongest growth in the short and medium term. According to the report, this growth will be driven by a motivated target market, an increasing demand for lifestyle consumer applications and a diversifying array of attachments. App-enabled mFitness will therefore reach maturity much more quickly than smartphone-based mHealth, though it ultimately represents a much smaller market in terms of both users and revenues. Importantly, it will also serve to educate the wider market as to what is possible through smartphone attachments.
“As mobile fitness devices become more widespread, they will pave the way for more critical mHealth services delivered through the smartphone,” says the report’s author, Anthony Cox. “While mHealth and mobile fitness are two discrete markets — with divergent audiences — increased usage of the former will stimulate wider awareness of the latter.”