According to research from the New York City-based research firm, ABI Research, there is a rich market for medical body area network (MBAN) sensors, and by 2018, five million will be shipped globally. MBANs are low-power wideband networks consisting of multiple body-worn sensors that transmit a variety of data to a control device.
Thus far, ABI Research notes, the industry has barely penetrated the addressable market. However, the sensors will improve patient monitoring information significantly and allow clinicians to focus on other aspects of care, the researchers say. Because the technology can be brought to a disposable form, they say MBAN sensors will integrate within the workflow of healthcare providers, and thus be useful. ABI Research predicts the market will be be developed through competing protocols.
“The market for disposable MBAN sensors will differ from the wider wearable wireless device market in its support for specific protocols,” Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research, said in a statement. “Where Bluetooth Smart will dominate connectivity in the total wearable wireless device market, two competing approaches will be prominent in the disposable healthcare market over the next few years: proprietary and NFC.”
What also will help this industry is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issuing a final rule that enables spectrum for MBANs, back in September of last year. In that rule, the FCC said it will allow for the allocation of 40 MHz of spectrum for the development of MBAN devices in the 2360–2400 MHz band.
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