31 Jul 2012
IMS Research predicts slow Bluetooth Smart take-up in medical devices
IMS Research forecasts a slow transition from today's Bluetooth to the low energy version, Bluetooth Smart, in consumer medical devices.
According to US industry analysis business, 31 percent of all consumer medical devices containing Bluetooth sold in 2016 will still use Classic Bluetooth 2.1 as opposed to the latest low-energy variant, Bluetooth Smart 4.0.
According to the company's recently published report Wireless Opportunities in Health and Wellness Monitoring, the take up of Bluetooth 4.0 will be slow because of high certification costs and strict regulations, which will lengthen the design cycle for companies planning to launch Bluetooth Smart variants of their consumer health devices.
“High certification costs for consumer medical devices, coupled with long design cycles and strict regulation is going to mean companies currently using Classic Bluetooth will continue to do so, while slowly bringing Bluetooth Smart variants to the market over the next five years,” says IMS research analyst Phillip Maddocks. “As long as customers feel the battery life and reliability of devices using Classic Bluetooth devices are satisfactory, there is no great urgency to switch to Bluetooth low energy.”
Another key factor is the uptake of Bluetooth low energy in connectable devices such as cellular handsets, says Maddocks.
As penetration of Bluetooth Smart Ready in these devices is still low, manufacturers of consumer medical device manufacturers are less inclined to support a small ecosystem of devices when they can support a much larger ecosystem of devices using Classic Bluetooth.
However, Maddocks believes this will change, since 100 percent of cellular handsets that would typically contain Bluetooth, will be Bluetooth Smart Ready capable by 2016.
“The ecosystem of connectable devices in the consumer market for Bluetooth Smart devices is still very low, with only a handful of devices able to communicate natively with any new Bluetooth Smart devices. This is set to change over the next five years with more and more devices, in particular cellular handsets, adopting Bluetooth Smart Ready technology in place of the traditional Classic Bluetooth technology,” he explains.
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