4 IoT Trends Medtech Firms Should Watch

Qmed Staff

May 12, 2015

4 Min Read
4 IoT Trends Medtech Firms Should Watch

2015 may go down as the year that the Internet of Things went big.

Joanna Rotter

The Internet of Things (IoT) seems to be on everyone's lips these days.

Only today, Samsung debuted a new push into the arena with an array of technologies that could make it easier to integrate computing horsepower into everything from fitness trackers to light bulbs.

Verizon's $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL could also play a role in making the Internet of Things widespread.

And then last week, Bosch unveiled its own IoT push. The company's chief executive Volkmar Denner believes that the company's future depends on its ability to play a supporting role in the development of devices for the smart homes, cars, and factories.

Other tech companies including Facebook, Apple, and Google are getting onto the IoT bandwagon as well. 2015 could go down as the year the IoT went primetime.

This is not only a trend for the general consumer technology sector. The IoT is coming to healthcare, too. A recent report from MarketResearch.com predicts that the healthcare IoT market will be worth $117 billion by 2020.

Device companies should sit up and take note--watching both the implications of the IoT for healthcare at large and in the medtech industry.

Here are four trends to keep an eye out for:

1. Medical Equipment Sales Models Are Shifting to Include Service Contracts

Today's medical device customers expect more than just a piece of equipment. They also want strong service agreements and a lasting maintenance relationship to go along with it.

The Internet of Things could help device firms better prove the clinical utility and value of their products.

This trend was already underway in 2012 when MD+DI highlighted how buyers of med devices were beginning to shift their priorities to better emphasize clinical and economic value. The article, titled "The New Commerce: How Sales Models are Changing in Medical Devices," explains: "These new economic stakeholders require different sales approaches, including comparative effectiveness studies, outcomes-based contracts, and bundled purchasing models."

By expanding device sales strategy to include service contracts, med equipment manufacturers can capitalize on loyal customer relationships after the initial sale.

2. Increased Data Access Is Driving Manufacturer Efficiency

IoT sensors provide an endless flow of data from device to manufacturer. With this influx of data, companies receive insights into how equipment can be modified or upgraded as well as when it needs service or maintenance work.

The Internet of Things will fuel the use of data to make strategic decisions, particularly in manufacturers' and dealers' ability to decide how to make equipment better and more efficient for the customer.

This year, we are seeing more data from connected factories, which is being leveraged to make manufacturing processes more efficient. "Even smaller companies in the industry will invest more in 2015 to improve their software operations," states an article titled "6 Key Predictions for Manufacturing in 2015."

3.  Preventative Maintenance Programs Become a Higher Priority

With data delivered by the IoT, medical equipment service departments can repair equipment before problems occur. IoT sensors in parts and devices activate a work order automatically when a part isn't working right. As the work order is generated, the system orders parts and schedules a preliminary service call. When the parts arrive, a service truck is dispatched to the site to perform the preventative maintenance (PM).

Each of these steps is done automatically in seconds since no human interaction is required. This IoT, sensor-based PM approach prevents any equipment down-time since the service tech can get onsite before any problems manifest to the customer.

4. Mobile Apps Empower Technicians to Stay Connected

With renewed focus on product support, equipment manufacturers and dealers are turning to mobile service management apps to improve service results, build loyal customer relationships, and keep service techs connected in the field.

Top service apps give techs the tools to:

  • Capture inspection data.

  • Document time reporting.

  • See into the back office.

  • Track inventory, parts, and tasks.

  • Automatically receive work orders and set statuses throughout course of work.

  • Access customer equipment asset contract and warranty coverage.

  • Capture photos and signatures in the field.

  • Record work with our without wireless connectivity.

As medical devices become more complex, establishing regular preventive maintenance programs with technicians who understand how to service equipment right the first time will become more important. Industry experts and research firms have found that service automation software and mobile apps are giving techs the tools they need to provide successful service and drive successful service programs in 2015.

Leveraging the IoT Requires the Right Technology

As connected technologies continue to provide more data than manufacturers know what to do with, you'll need the right tools to organize that data and take advantage of your opportunity in service. Customer demands are rising, and if you're not able to keep their equipment up and running smoothly, they'll find someone who can. Follow these trends and commit to providing the best service possible customers in 2015.

Joanna Rotter is the content marketing manager at MSI Data, a field service management software provider and creator of the enterprise field service app, Service Pro.

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