Wellingborough, UK, 28 November 2011 – With a global revenue forecast of $990 million by 2015 (InMedica) the Telehealth market is already attracting a host of suppliers and innovators at various points in the value chain. In a new whitepaper, “Competitive Dynamics in the Global Telehealth Market – 2011 to 2020”, InMedica assesses the current telehealth ecosystem and forecasts how it will change over the next ten years.

The major parts of the ecosystem include peripheral device suppliers – blood pressure monitors, glucose meters etc; gateway suppliers – health hubs and mobile gateways; and data transmission service providers – POTS, cellular and broadband.

"At the moment, suppliers in different segments of the ecosystem are effectively collaborating. However, as the market undergoes greater convergence, it is likely that direct competition between suppliers will increase”. explained Theo Ahadome, Market Analyst at InMedica.

Case in point is the relationship between gateway and peripherals suppliers.  As fixed gateway suppliers increase their subscriber numbers, they are projected to increasingly compete in the peripheral device market by supplying their own blood pressure monitors, weight scales and other peripherals. This allows them to control device interconnectivity and adds an additional revenue stream.  On  the other hand, the promotion of open standards by the Continua Health Alliance’s product certification program, serves to abate concerns over device interconnectivity. This will improve interoperability between different suppliers’ products and reduce the need for such vertical integration.

The biggest change, however, comes in the data transmissions market, where cellular network providers clearly overtake POTS and Broadband. In 2010, telehealth data transmission via cellular networks only accounted for 17% of total transmissions from gateways; in 2020 this is forecast grow to 47%. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, have already taken their initial steps into the telehealth market. Moreover, as the use of smartphones as telehealth gateways increases, so too will the importance of cellular networks and mobile phone manufacturers in the telehealth ecosystem. As evidenced by Time Warner’s recent telehealth trials in Maine, broadband suppliers are also projected to become increasingly involved in healthcare and increase their collective share of  telehealth data transmissions – a projected 13% by 2020.

“The important issue in the telehealth competitive landscape is that telehealth is not a device or product- it is a system. It is hence inherent that devices can be seemlessy integrated, in order for the system to operate successfully. Standards will be crucial and alliances such Continua Health, Bluetooth SIG and the ANT Alliance will be important in this respect. However, we also know that where collaboration is paramount, there is also a market for vertical integration, leading to direct competition between previous partners” continued Ahadome.    

To access the free white paper, “Competitive Dynamics in the World Telehealth Market – 2011 to 2020” please click here.

Posted by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor