Vodafone’s latest deal with healthcare company PHT illustrates the extent to which a new generation of connected devices will gobble up data capacity on mobile networks in the next three years, with thousands of new devices used to transmit real time clinical information across the world.
The PHT electronic clinical outcome assessment (eCOA) system collects electronic data from patients involved in hundreds of clinical trials in 75 countries, and PHT now plans to roll out thousands of its SitePad mobile tablets to research sites across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Participants will record information about their symptoms and experience on the SitePad which will regularly connect to the StudyWorks management and patient data portal using Vodafone’s global M2M network.
Reseach company Statista predicts that global M2M traffic will grow from 20,736 terabytes of data per month in 2013 to 490,226 terabytes per month by 2017, the larger part of which is expected to travel over some form of mobile network. Healthcare applications are expected to be a key contributor to that data, alongside home security and automation, smart metering and utilities, automotive and consumer electronics.
Vodafone signed an M2M deal to provide connectivity to Audi cars in Europe in March last year, with new vehicles embedded with a 4G capable infotainment system that gives drivers and passengers high speed internet access whilst travelling.
M2M networks are a vital component of the Internet of Things (IoT), a vast network of industrial sensors and other devices constantly sending data in real time which research company IDC has forecast will grow to generate $7.1 trillion of collective revenue for hardware, software and telecommunications companies by 2017.
Both the European Commission and UK telecoms regulator Ofcom this week referenced the specific demands that IoT is expected to place on mobile networks as an important factor which telecommunications markets must evolve to address in the near future.