Deloitte: Healthcare to take lead in mobile development

Consumer-facing apps and products may be at the head of the mobile pack right now, but if a new Deloitte survey is any indication, healthcare apps will outpace them with the advent of 4G broadband services. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they see healthcare as the market vertical with the most potential to improve with 4G capability in Open Mobile: The growth era accelerates

Still, 85 percent of respondents predicted that open OS environments, like Android, will ultimately dominate the mobile market within just three years. That could be a tough order in healthcare, given the penetration of iPhones, iPads and other iOS devices. The survey also asks several questions about open-source versus closed platforms, all of which were answered in favor of open source.

M2M technologies, too, will grow exponentially over the next couple of years, the respondents believe; they forecasted M2M connections to reach 225 million, and revenues to rise to almost $19 billion by 2014.

One of the most important activities going on in the mHealth market, specifically, is the willingness of major players to cooperate or create "high-profile alliances" like the Continua Health Alliance, survey author Scott Wilson Ph.D. wrote. Building a standards-based ecosystem approach, he said, is key to mHealth's future success, and alliances like these will be key.

The survey report also gives some insight into choices hospitals should make in terms of the wireless infrastructure investments they're making now. For example, it indicates that customers should lean toward carriers with LTE networks, not WiMax.

"Although nationwide 4G coverage is some way off ... the network standards battle between WiMax and LTE has mostly tilted in favor of LTE," Wilson wrote. "The majority of wireless service providers have announced support for the LTE standard."

To learn more:
- read the Deloitte survey (.pdf)