A new report by ABI Research has highlighted how disposable wireless sensors could have a major role in the healthcare industry because they can free up valuable nursing time.
The research firm predicts that by 2018, close to five million such sensors will have been shipped. However, such a level of shipments will have barely scratched the surface of the market, said ABI.
So-called Medical Body Area Networks, or MBANs, are already in the agenda in the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated spectrum for them last autumn. MBANs are the same as wireless sensors, although they are not necessarily disposable.
Sensors enable patient monitoring, so freeing up nursing staff to concentrate on other tasks. The report gives the example of taking a patient’s temperature as a task that could be performed via sensors.
Technically, there will be two distinct approaches to disposable sensors. ABI says the market is suited to specific, proprietary products from existing suppliers who already have relationships with healthcare clients.
In competition is NFC which offers significantly lower cost sensors as well as standardised connectivity to smartphones and tablets. However, ABI argues NFC does “not offer the same levels of automated data collection” as rival technologies.
The report also says Bluetooth Smart will continue to be the technology of choice in the overall wearable wireless technology market.