Thinking Tech

Where the big money is in WiFi

Where the big money is in WiFi

Posting in Cities

WiFi is great for hospitals. It frees doctors from being tied to a phone. It can deliver medical records to a patient's bedside in a flash. A hospital system can have all the security and auditing of its wireless it needs, at a reasonable cost. The system can be managed from a hospital's IT department. Capacity can be expanded easily where it's needed by adding antennas.

You make think that WiFi is free, or free for the cost of a cup of coffee.

Advocates have been disappointed as cities and towns cancelled their efforts to build great WiFi clouds, citing costs.

But there is one area where WiFi has proven not only a boon to surfers, but a necessity to users, and an enormous profit center to boot.

Hospitals.

ABI Research write that it expects WiFi in healthcare to be a $4.9 billion market in 2014, as hospitals and clinics develop increasingly sophisticated installations.

WiFi is great for hospitals. It frees doctors from being tied to a phone. It can deliver medical records to a patient's bedside in a flash. A hospital system can have all the security and auditing of its wireless it needs, at a reasonable cost. The system can be managed from a hospital's IT department. Capacity can be expanded easily where it's needed by adding antennas.

ABI's report says no vendor has a complete solution, but that is mainly evidence of a fast-growing market, in which the definition of a "complete solution" is constantly changing.

As imaging and diagnostic machines deliver better reports and bigger files, as client devices evolve to handle the files, and as security becomes an increasing concern, this is a great and growing market for suppliers of equipment, software and services as well.

But there is another smart takeaway from this report.

If you can define a facility with a high need for wireless connectivity, the same goods and services that are profitable in the health market can be profitable for you, too.

Driving this technology into health clinics, into factories, onto corporate campuses, and into office buildings is an enormous profit opportunity.  The health care industry has already done your R&D, and your market testing. All you need do is sell it, install it, and service it.

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Dana Blankenhorn

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Dana Blankenhorn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age's "NetMarketing" supplement and founded the Interactive Age Daily for CMP Media. He holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern universities. He is based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure