Current products in development meet an unmet global consumer health care need with a potential value of $1 billion. Our first product, a smart phone application, will debut in the European market in 2016. While our entry into the U.S. market for this device is a high priority, FDA requirements extend time to market. By population, the European market is 50% larger and consumers tend to be more open to self-managed health care monitoring and while EU regulation regarding the distribution of health care products can be complex, it is more regulatory and channel management than bureaucratic hurdles. We will also do concurrent clinical and field trials in the E.U., where there is abundant tech support and matching funds for new technology.
IDS is at the convergence of 4 megatrends in consumer health care. These are: Information technology, use of mobile devices, miniaturization, and do-it-yourself health monitoring. These growing activities provide a foundation for a strong and sustainable vibrant worldwide business.
Presently there are 1.75 billion-plus smart phone users worldwide, with that number expected to grow to 2 billion by the end of 2016. Smart phone shipments globally were up 38 percent in 2013, with an estimated 1 billion shipped. Falling prices, increased functionality and lower-priced cell plans will contribute to this growth.
Going hand in hand with the growth of the smart phone market, is the proliferation of apps. There are over 1.3 million Android apps and 1.2 million Apple apps available on the market right now. The average user spent 30 hours per month on 26.8 apps last year. Apple logged 75 billion downloads as of mid-2014 and between all available apps, it won’t be long before we hit the 200 billion mark. Consumers are relying more and more on their smart phone apps and their computers less, finding them more convenient and accessible no matter where they are.
Technological advances continue to miniaturize medical diagnostic equipment. What was once a million dollar machine with sophisticated programming located in large labs or hospitals is now small and affordable enough to be in a doctor’s office, readily available to patients. Taking this technology one step further and making it accessible directly to the consumer is our goal. (The portability and miniaturization will also make our devices and apps affordable for medical providers in remote areas, as well as third-world countries, where equipment simply isn’t available or affordable to the masses.)
The consumer is seizing upon the ability to access previously hidden information and take charge of their own health. The proliferation of the internet is changing the way consumers manage their health care and seek information. What was once only available in books or through a doctor is now widely available online and accessible via computer and smart phone. Consequently, over 80% of online Americans are seeking information on health-related topics and health research is now the third most common thing for people, in all age groups, to do online.
Because of the size and portability of the smart phone, as well as the ease of use with health-related apps, we will be seeing more and more diagnostic tools available to consumers, especially those who are health conscious and underinsured. Taking advantage this confluence of technology and consumer activism, we are primed to be able to offer tools that promote wellness and make the smart phone even smarter.