The mHealth Chicken and Egg: Where will the sensors appear first?

A couple of good reports caught my interest this week on the subject of where connected medical sensors are going to start appearing. First up was an article in the New York Times reminding us of the growing convergence of sensors to mobile devices (which readers of this blog will of course already appreciate) and other devices.

Although this is not the first time I’ve seen this I remain skeptical that such sensory intelligence will make it to other devices before they’ll make it to the smart mobile. For example Nick Bilton, the articles author, states “it’s only a matter of time before these sensors move beyond the smartphone and into people’s clothes, glasses and homes” and Benedetto Vigna, General Manager MEMS at STMicroelectronic’s, informs us that “your socks, shoes, glasses and even your garbage can will have sensors inside designed to help you manage everything from your effects on the environment to your health”.

I can’t help but think that we need to appreciate that the most prolific rate of change will happen in the mass market end point (the mobile phone). As a result of increasing intelligence in the devices, network and the clouds they can leverage, I think it will only be in the very rare situations that these stand alone solutions will be able to offer sustainable innovation. In 99% of other cases the patients mobile will be the hub/processor.

Another article over at MobiHealthNews quoted the efforts of Gary Strumolo, Vehicle Design & Infomatics at Ford Research & Innovation, who is working with WellDoc to introduce medical devices that can “talk” to the cars computer rather than the occupants mobiles:

Bluetooth connectivity between the car’s computer and personal medical devices, remote access to cloud services via the car’s computer, and synching up to the health apps users already have on their smartphones

N.B. this video is not dated 1 April:

I’m hesitant about this happening and would think Ford would do better to take the alternative approach that Jaguar Land Rover recently showcased at the BlackBerry World developer conference.

In my opinion not only is this route more realistic, elegant and scaleable but it also appreciates the desire patients will have for a consistent user experience that they can take with them wherever they go.

2 thoughts on “The mHealth Chicken and Egg: Where will the sensors appear first?

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