As mobile penetration rates level off, the wireless industry is setting its sights on vertical markets such as M2M and mobile healthcare products for the next wave of growth. At the same time, the smartphone and tablet rush along with mobile broadband services has become an attractive combination to these markets.
According to Rob Mesirow, CTIA vice president of operations, this year's CTIA Wireless 2011 show reflects these trends: Orlando, Fla., where the show will be held, is home to Lake Nona Medical City, a community of 25,000 residents, two new hospitals and three biomedical research institutes and medical schools. This high concentration of people in the medical field was one of the driving forces behind bringing the show back to Orlando after spending several years in Las Vegas, Mesirow said.
"There is such an intense need for reformed healthcare, and there is a lot of money flowing from the government and venture capital. So there's a huge incentive for this to absolutely happen," Mesirow said.
CTIA has declared the second day of the show, March 23, as Wireless Health Day. CTIA's Wireless Health Pavilion will showcase mobile healthcare technologies, while VIP tours will feature the people behind Medical City, which is fully embracing wireless technology.
Further, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong--chairman of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, chairman and CEO of the Institute for Advanced Health, and chairman and CEO of the Healthcare Transformation Institute--is scheduled to give a keynote at the show.
The growing popularity of tablets is also driving a boom in vertical markets, as enterprises see value in equipping their workers with productive solutions. Indeed, healthcare is one of the fastest growing enterprise segments when it comes to tablet adoption.
Kevin Benedict, an independent analyst covering the mobile enterprise, said the surge in tablets is creating a scenario that could see M2M become mainstream in the enterprise market.
"Ereaders and tablets all have embedded wireless chips in them that make them part of the booming M2M or embedded wireless device category," Benedict said. "Also, many medical equipment manufacturers are including embedded wireless chips to be able to communicate information to distant healthcare providers."