A new report released by Cambridge UK analysts Wireless Healthcare has suggested that the market for consumer electronics based therapeutic and well-being devices and services is set to grow by 20 percent annually, and could be a $4 billion a year industry by 2010.
The report, titled "eHealth And Consumer Electronics", particularly cites the success of Nintendo's Touch Generations branded Brain Age
, which is based on the research of Professor Ryuta Kawashima of Tohoku University in Japan, as a key reason for its predictions. The game, which takes advantage of the various unique capabilities afforded by the Nintendo DS hardware, is regarded by Nintendo as a means to stimulate brain activity through a series of brain "exercises" ranging from simple arithmetic to reading aloud and counting syllables.
Looking to other electronic contributions to the healthcare market, the Wireless Healthcare report notes that as the exercise device market becomes more competitive, vendors will likely add healthcare related features to their fitness subscription-based services in an attempt to maintain margins and increase brand loyalty.
The report points to a range of subscription style services that support both dieting and exercise, and estimates the online well-being market could be worth up to $2 billion per year by 2010. However, the report balances its predictions by warning that services such as mobile phone based online dieting will not maintain growth without support from established players in the diet management sector.
Finally, the report examines devices specifically focused on reducing blood pressure and hypertension by teaching the user to breathe correctly, products which are based on simple ECG technology and are used as part of existing stress reduction programs. The report also identifies certain sites that allow users to upload ECG data from devices - including exercise monitors - as potential platforms for next generation ehealth services.
Peter Kruger, Analyst with Wireless Healthcare, states, "Some of these services are being promoted by healthcare payers who have a vested interest in preventative healthcare. We feel that, in the long term, these services will disrupt the business models of incumbent healthcare providers."