Research: Wi-Fi in health care poised for big investment

A new report from ABI Research says that the health care industry is poised to invest a considerable amount in Wi-Fi infrastructure within the next five years thanks to the increasing use of smartphones and tablets.

The firm said the health care Wi-Fi market is expected to grow to a $1.3 billion industry in the next five years as the drive to have more consumer devices connected to Wi-Fi networks also pushes specific vertical markets to invest more in its own wireless infrastructure.

"Wi-Fi has established itself as a key infrastructure technology within health care operations in North America and is continuing to expand uptake elsewhere," Jonathan Collins, an ABI analyst, wrote in an email to eWeek. "We see adoption growing around the world over the next five years."

Collins added that the number of smartphones and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices connecting to Wi-Fi networks in the health care segment will increase by nearly 20 percent in 2011. Emerging segments for Wi-Fi in the health care sector include medical body area networks (MBANs), which incorporate gateway devices to access Wi-Fi signals for mobile health monitoring. ABI expects almost 30 million MBAN devices to ship each year by 2016.

Today's Wi-Fi solutions in the health care industry include Voice over Wi-Fi and real-time location systems that can be used to monitor hand washing and other hygiene practices in hospitals.

For more:
- see this eWeek article

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