By 2020, 22% of the world’s population will be of or above 60 years. In order to encourage independent living, IT service providers need to support the development of smart homes and communities that leverage technology-based solutions for the aged. High adoption of remote monitoring devices, which are useful for personal physicians, nurses and family, will help all senior citizens who prefer to stay in their own homes.
Healthcare expected to be among the top industries for ICT providers in Europe
Information and communication technology (ICT)-based assistive technologies, including computer-based or other electronic communication aids, object locators and reminder systems, will also gain traction. Further, robots as a support system will emerge as an excellent aged care model.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Connected Industry Insight Series – ICT Opportunities in the Global Aged Care Market demonstrates healthcare to be among the top industries for ICT providers in Europe, yielding an estimated €71.57 billion in 2019. IT services will constitute a large proportion of healthcare spending in this sector.
The market for specialised medical tech, like wearables, will grow
The aged population’s requirement for specialised medical technology will create strong long-term opportunities for wireless network, IT service and software solution providers. Thus, these service providers are making concerted efforts towards developing and implementing technologies that support independent ageing and aged care.
“Wearable devices are increasingly becoming an integral part of senior citizens’ lifestyle,” said Frost & Sullivan Information & Communication Technologies Senior Research Analyst Shuba Ramkumar. “While it is true that a wearable device or global positioning system (GPS) tracker does not in itself provide better care, it can facilitate remote monitoring of senior citizens and help prevent major accidents. For example, it can prevent a patient with memory loss or dementia from going outside and endangering themselves.”
Security and privacy concerns
However, seamless connectivity, irrespective of whether it is low/high bandwidth or short/long range, is important for the accurate functioning of the aged care ecosystem. Even the smooth operation and integration of assisted living technologies in the healthcare sector is dependent on the resolution of connectivity, data privacy and regulation issues.
Currently, the need to certify some ICT devices for deployment and restrictions on the use of data collected by devices prove to be major obstacles for the end-user market. Nevertheless, development of stringent data security regulations and partnership with healthcare technology companies can help overcome some of these challenges.
“IT service providers must collaborate with large private and public aged care providers to design and deploy solutions that integrate with the healthcare system,” noted Ramkumar. “For residential care communities, they should also provide end-to-end Internet of Things platforms to enable communication between smart devices for monitoring patient activity. These solutions are necessary to integrate home/residential care systems with the central healthcare system to facilitate automated healthcare delivery.”