Health IT Industry a Major Player in Mobile Workforce Management

The family locator services market is the largest segment for people-monitoring and safety solutions based on GPS-enabled smartphones.

The number of users of smartphone-based workforce management services in Europe and North America is forecasted to grow from 0.8 million in 2012 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent to reach nearly 2.5 million by 2018, bolstered by strong growth from the health IT sector, according to a report from Berg Insight.

Family locator services is the largest segment for people-monitoring and safety solutions based on GPS-enabled smartphones or dedicated cellular and GPS locator devices.

"Many parents have discovered free and low-cost apps that can turn a smartphone into a locator device that enable monitoring of family members such as children or elderly," André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight, said in a statement. "Companies and organizations in many parts of the world are also gradually adopting lone worker protection solutions to comply with occupational safety regulations and reduce employee insurance costs."

Malm added that lone worker protection services often rely on dedicated GPS location devices featuring alarm buttons and "man down" detection sensors. Berg estimated that there were 30 million active users of family locator and location-sharing apps in Europe and North America at the end of the second quarter of 2013.

Device vendors are also addressing the growing market for systems that assist seniors living at home or in care homes. These systems are often called telecare systems or social alarms in Europe and Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) in North America.

Dedicated location devices can be better suited than smartphones for some people-locator services, for instance, those that address the needs of people caring for persons suffering from medical conditions such as cognitive limitations, epilepsy and cardiac problems.

The company estimated that there are now 6 million users of first-generation telecare systems connected to wireline networks in Europe and North America.

The report also noted the next-generation wearable telecare devices with cellular connectivity are now being launched, and predicted that these devices would be better suited for seniors that are becoming increasingly active.

The overall North American health care information technology (HCIT) market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 percent to reach $31.3 billion by 2017 from $21.9 billion in 2012.The United States accounted for the highest share--72.6 percent--of the North America health care IT market and is expected to reach $22.6 billion in by 2017, as compared to $15.9 billion in 2012.