If you haven't upgraded your Wi-Fi network in a while, you may be falling behind your competitors. Healthcare use of mobile devices is driving explosive growth in Wi-Fi investment around the country, according to a new report from ABI Research.
Particularly, healthcare institutions' build outs of Wi-Fi networks are pushing the Wi-Fi market to a whopping $1.3 billion by 2016, ABI's study, "Wireless Technologies in Professional Healthcare," predicts. And that growth is starting now. In 2011 alone, the use of smartphones and other wireless systems is expected to grow 20 percent, the study reports.
One category of wireless devices that will expand faster than most are medical body area networks, the study finds. The networks use sensors to collect biometric data, and wireless signals to transmit that information to providers; ABI expects more than 30 million of them to be sold annually by 2016.
The report also highlights a growth trend for real-time location systems (RTLS), which can track employees, monitor hand washing and capture other infection control practices in hospitals, ABI analyst Jonathan Collins told eWeek.
One unaddressed question: long-term costs. It'll be interesting to see if the skyrocketing growth in Wi-Fi infrastructure turns into shrinking contract prices for hospitals and other healthcare providers.