Connected health and the Internet of Medical Things (IOMT) have grown its presence in recent years at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This year’s focus was virtual reality (VR) applications in healthcare and the growing ecosystem of peripheral devices used for connected health monitoring.
The last 12 months in technology has had a heavy focus on VR, and while most applications fall under entertainment and gaming content, an increasing number of healthcare applications are surfacing. As other professional use-cases of VR, the healthcare applications emphasize educational content for both clinicians and for patients. Examples are You VR by BioLucid, available on HTC Vive, which allows an immersive experience of the human body, its organs, and very detailed functions of these organs. This application allows clinicians to visualize relevant health conditions to patients, and help patients understand the fundamentals of disease. Other applications of VR include rehabilitation for stroke patients, where patients can regain control of movement by simulating basic tasks. Engagement is critical in all rehabilitation programs, and the ability to gamify the experience through VR has great potential for patient engagement.
Other highlights at MWC, in terms of digital health, were Doro’s announcement to increase its efforts within its Care portfolio. The company announced the Secure 480 wristwatch, which features a personal emergency response system (PERS), GPS and other tracking technologies for independent living. The market landscape for PERS is changing dramatically due to the changing consumer profiles of elder generations, and the Secure 480 is a clear statement for this.
Finally, the biggest news for the digital health market in Barcelona was Nokia’s announcement on retiring the Withings brand. In April 2016, Nokia acquired Withings for $191 million to increase its IoT footprint in the medical space. Withings’ portfolio of connected health products and services has since then become an important growth driver and competitive differentiator for Nokia. The Finnish company announced in late 2016 that it worked with healthcare providers to run remote patient monitoring programs. In the future, all legacy Withings products and services will be labelled with Nokia branding. Nokia is undoubtedly a stronger brand, but not in healthcare, and will therefore need to invest heavily to compete with companies such as Omron and Philips – both with similar portfolios of connected health devices, but with much stronger channel presence and brand awareness.
For questions or inquiries, please contact Roeen Roashan, Roeen.Roashan@ihsmarkit.com.