Telemedicine solutions: what future for small manufacturers?

The market for remote monitoring solutions sees the entry of large companies offering B2B solutions. What impact will this phenomenon have on a sector that until now has been the prerogative of small and medium-sized companies?

In recent weeks, three announcements have livened up the market for telemedicine solutions. Sony has unveiled its own B2B solution for telemedicine service providers. It was then the turn of Withings to promote its own telemonitoring platform. Finally, Google announced the acquisition of Fit-bit for $2.1 billion.

Large companies’ interest in the professional wellness and health sector is certainly indicative of an expectation of growth in this market, which has already reached a considerable size at the consumer level.

With varying speeds and intensity, telemedicine is finally starting to develop in many countries as a new way to provide health services, both publicly and privately.

The offer of B2B industrial platforms contrasts with the wide range of proposals made by small and medium-sized companies that produce solutions by assembling hardware, medical devices and remote monitoring software.

These solutions are now developed either for internal use, by companies that provide telemedicine services, or to be marketed and provided to the former or to public health (vendors).

The availability of industrial B2B platforms expands the choice and is in direct competition with those that today provide solutions for remote monitoring. What will happen in the next few years? Will there still be room for small and medium-sized companies?

Large players can make large investments, design and build integrated hardware and software platforms, certify their solutions, promote them with extensive marketing actions and set up a very articulated sales network.

It is evident that small companies cannot compete on these levels, but they have the advantage of being flexible, close to the needs of customers and able to provide professional services for the integration, training and start-up of these systems.

The choice that these companies will have to make in the coming years is whether to compete with the major players in the development of systems or whether to focus their energies on professional services, adopting and reselling the industrial platforms of the former.

This is a phenomenon that has already occurred in many sectors in the world of information technology. As the market grows and matures, the supply evolves, concentrates and specialises.

Will telemedicine be more similar to medical devices or software systems market? In the last one there is room for large and small companies, where configuration and customization make it really difficult to standardize and industrialize solutions.

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