According to a report from Future Market Insights, global shipments for medical wearable devices will surpass 106 million in 2016. Revenue for the devices are expected to cross $23,980 million, which is a 4.8% growth year over year.
The report explains the increase in popularity of medical wearable devices by pointing out that the new technology, for the first time, is allowing patients with diseases that require round-the-clock monitoring, to be more flexible. Devices are now able to deliver crucial data to physicians from afar, in real time.
The main obstacle for such devices are the high cost. This too is temporary, as competition is expected to grow in this field, which drive prices down and making the devices more affordable.
As a result of high growth potential in an expanding segment of an already popular sector, start-ups and SMEs (small and medium size enterprises) have appeared. Companies like Biotricity Inc. (OTCQB: BTCY) have been active in development and innovation of medically relevant biometric remote monitoring solutions.
The leading player in the wearable devices sector remains Fitbit Inc., yet their devices are more fitness trackers than medical devices. As competition intensified however, Fitbit was forced to rethink its business and what their next step will be. In April, the company announced that it will venture into medical devices. This is an important catalyst for Fitbit, as the FDA will test the company’s technology and comment on it.
Other major players in this sector include Medtronic plc, Siemens AG, and Koninklijke Philips NV, all of which have medical wearable devices of some kind in their product portfolios already, and plan to expand further their presence in this sector. Medtronic plc in particular has released impressive technology. The company’s devices manufactured with sophisticated sensors, which monitor metabolic changes and generate results in seconds.
The popularity of such devices is expected to gain traction globally, but for now North America is still the largest market, followed by Western Europe and then by the Asian Pacific region.