The smart device market is poised to reach $9.6 trillion by 2020, up from $7.4 trillion a decade ago, according to research firm Gartner.
That’s up from an estimated $6.9 trillion market last year.
But it’s a relatively small market.
For example, medical device makers are currently developing smart home products that can be controlled remotely.
In the past, they relied on a central hub, which meant they had to rely on humans to act on information.
But that’s no longer the case.
“The biggest challenge in medical devices today is the fact that the device needs to be capable of sensing and responding to its environment,” said Michael Mavrakis, Gartners senior director of product strategy.
“So for example, when a medical device detects an abnormal heartbeat, it needs to react to it in a way that will allow the device to respond.”
The research firm estimates that smart devices will account for more than 70 percent of medical device revenue by 2020.
That includes medical devices with sensors for heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose.
There are also medical devices that can detect the temperature, which can be used to predict the patient’s condition and then use that information to make appropriate health care decisions.
“What we see now is a trend toward devices that are able to detect, even when they’re not responding to external signals, to anticipate the external signal, to make the correct decisions about what to do with the health data,” said Mavrekis.
“And that is a significant shift in the way health care is going to be done in the future.”
One area of concern is that smart medical device technology can’t always be trusted.
The medical device industry is notoriously secretive.
“You can have some medical devices on the market that are extremely secure, and the manufacturers will have the ability to control what they say, and that can have a significant impact on whether or not they’re going to get approved,” Mavreksi said.
“It’s one of the biggest challenges we’re facing.”
But with the help of new sensors and smart technology, medical devices are finally becoming less of a mystery.
And that’s good news for doctors and patients alike.
Medical device companies can now create medical devices they believe will work best in their environments, instead of relying on human intervention.
But there are some big challenges ahead for smart medical technology.
As the market for smart devices matures, manufacturers will be confronted with a host of new challenges.
“One of the key challenges that medical device manufacturers face is how to build devices that have both sensors and data capabilities that can make decisions based on the current environment,” Maven said.
That means medical devices will need to be able to be remotely controlled, as well as the ability for the device maker to control the data being sent back and forth between the devices and the surrounding environment.
Medical devices also have to be smart enough to take into account the patient, so they can predict the risks associated with using the device.
But because smart devices can also be used in a human-controlled environment, the medical device needs also to be built to protect the patient.
“If we’re relying on technology to be safe and secure, then it’s important that we don’t leave the patient in the dark about the device that is being used in the workplace or that is in a hospital,” Mavan said.
The new research shows that even though the market is growing, medical technologies are still very much a work in progress.
“In the next decade, the devices we see in the market today are going to have to evolve and be better engineered to accommodate our needs and the needs of the patients,” Mavin said.
In addition to the medical devices market, GARTNER forecasts that smart home and wearable devices will become a $1.6 quadrillion market by 2020 and will grow to $3.2 trillion by 2050.
Those new categories will account to about 25 percent of the market by that point.