With increasing adoption of wearables and a spate of advancements in smart home technologies, smart home healthcare market has established itself as a prominent avenue of investment in recent years, a potential that was largely overlooked a few years prior.
In the early days after they were introduced, smart home devices allowed people to live a more convenient life by automating simple tasks such as turning lights on & off or changing the thermostat settings. Today, however, there is serious competition between technology giants like Amazon, Apple and Google as they attempt to harness the capabilities of wearables & smart home devices for paving their way into a largely untapped smart home healthcare industry.
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Following is a list of initiatives tech companies are taking to obtain a foothold in the smart home healthcare market, which is also subsequently influencing industry growth:
- Amazon leveraging Alexa to maintain its competitive edge:
There is no denying the fact that Amazon Inc. is an industry leader when it comes to smart home systems. While competitors like Apple and Google are scaling up their efforts to contest the coveted spot, they seem to be falling short every time.
- Competitive Edge: Amazon’s ability to keep the two Silicon Valley giants at bay can be attributed to the array of acquisitions it’s been undertaking in recent years, which gave it an instant and substantial competitive edge in the smart home segment.
- Leveraging Alexa: With the acquisitions, Amazon successfully created a complete smart home portfolio with Alexa at its heart. Indeed, the global smart speaker market is virtually defined by the presence of Alexa.
Going forward, it is seeking to capitalize on the Amazon smart home system presence to foray into the smart home healthcare industry. In fact, according to a 2019 report by The Ambient, Alexa recently became HIPPA-compliant, which allows it to handle sensitive healthcare data.
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- The HIPPA: Under the HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), Amazon can now forge partnerships with healthcare providers to enhance Alexa’s skills in managing healthcare data.
While they are still in the initial phases, Amazon has already unveiled for Alexa; including booking doctor appointments, checking prescriptions’ status and finding emergency care centers nearby, giving the company a serious edge over others.
- Apple betting on its extensive user-base to obtain industry share:
Apple Inc. boasts of its own vast portfolio of smart home devices that pose a serious threat to Amazon’s grasp on the smart home system segment. However, it seems like Apple does not intend to depend on its smart home systems to enter the smart home healthcare market, choosing to make its entry through its wearables portfolio instead.
- Wearables: To avoid a direct competition with Amazon, which would be extremely counterproductive when trying to foray into an uncharted territory, Apple has chosen to enter into the industry through its strong wearables portfolio, a wise move, considering its vast user-base.
- The Projection: Essentially, the manner in which Apple is developing and presenting its wearable device offerings is in many ways similar to that of Amazon’s Alexa. According to Fortune, Apple is expected to make its way into the smart home healthcare industry through medical-grade wearables such as AirPods that could double as hearing aids or an Apple Watch that can monitor glucose levels and sleep patterns.
According to Apple, the complete range of Apple devices is already becoming a mainstay at hospitals, allowing healthcare professionals to perform their tasks more efficiently and is also facilitating the growth of the mHealth market. This experience is expected to become a primary source of insight as the company attempts to replicate this success in home environments.
- Google streamlining its efforts and capitalizing on its AI expertise to make its mark
Google has been showing significant interest in healthcare sector for a while now. In fact, its efforts span across several teams with parent company Alphabet Inc’s subsidiaries DeepMind, Nest, Calico, Verily and Google Fit also showing active involvement.
- Wearables: Currently, Google Fit, a new fitness ecosystem designed for Android devices & WearOS smartwatches, is the company’s sole consumer-facing healthcare product, giving Google a limited exposure in the sector. However, Google seems to have a fairly modest presence in the global smart clothing market, which may provide the firm an edge to penetrate smart home healthcare industry via other medical wearables.
- Smart Home: Presently, Nest – a Google Home subsidiary – is actively working on smart home devices that could detect falls, turn on lights automatically when someone wakes up in the night to use the bathroom; lessening the chances of an accident.
- The Problem: The company’s plan of playing on several fronts may seem extremely effective at first glance, however, it has struggled to bring results, with industry experts describing the company efforts as fragmented.
- The Solution: In 2018, Google hired Geisinger Health CEO, David Feinberg, who is tasked with overseeing several of Google’s healthcare initiatives while de-fragmenting current efforts and bringing order to the division.
Meanwhile, Google’s AI research department and Google Brain, the company’s elite AI deep learning research team, are working on a project named Medical Digital Assist, which utilizes AI-driven speech recognition to help doctors take notes during hospital visits.
This project creates a lucrative circumstance for the company, wherein it could enter the smart home healthcare industry with a powerful AI that could integrate its wearables & smart home devices together to work as a medical professional and a digital nurse for homeowners.
Overall, based on the way these tech giants would leverage their strengths to pave their own way into the industry, the smart home healthcare market is expected to witness substantial growth in forthcoming years. In fact, according to a report by Global Market Insights, Inc., the smart home healthcare market size is slated to surpass a $30 billion valuation by 2025.