For the past few years, I’ve watched mHealth take over the spotlight from mBanking, which for so many years helped drive the mobile app revolution, garnering a lionshare of media and analyst attention as financial institutions across the board– Bank of America, HSBC, the NYSE and third party enablers like Mobile Money Ventures—took their services to the small screen.
When it comes down to it, mHealth’s mobile app needs aren’t terribly dissimilar to those of mBanking, or any other industry for that matter. They want guaranteed reliability, security, speed of deployment, and reduced development costs (as compared to in-house)…and basically fewer headaches. Pretty much what all developers and enterprises want from their mobile apps, right?
I think the main difference is their need for unrelentingly consistent QoS. While an entertainment app developer would agree on the importance of minimized downtime, consider how vital it is for an mHealth company like Sensei—one of the four new healthcare customers we announced at CTIA. Members rely on their mobile programs for critical reminders to take their medications or make on-the-spot decisions related to healthy eating choices. These apps are affecting people’s lives in a real way. Not a lot of room for error without potentially grave repercussions. Or something you want to send out into the world without 100% satisfaction that the testing and monitoring has been relentlessly thorough and rigorous.
I really enjoyed the dialogue around mHealth at CTIA IT & Wireless a few weeks ago, where the topic now merits its own conference track altogether. In the keynote, CTIA’s Steve Largent announced the results of a consumer health survey they conducted with Harris Interactive that was chock full of new stats confirming consumers’ hunger for mobile healthcare (check out the FierceWireless for the full recap).
Most memorable was the comment from Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs, who said the wireless industry will get the greatest growth thrust from the applications that most benefit society and improve humanity. It’s the kind of statement that makes you pause, and catapults your thoughts out of the weeds of the day-to-day. A ticker tape ran through my mind of the hundreds of developers and companies we’re working with—in or out of mHealth– who are doing exactly that in their own unique ways. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of how mobile apps can benefit people’s lives, and I’m energized by the prospect of what innovative, life-enriching new apps we’re going to help companies launch tomorrow.
P.S. If you’re following mHealth, bookmark or RSS mobihealthnews. I had the pleasure of reconnecting at CTIA with friend and industry vet Brian Dolan who recently left telecom titan FierceWireless to launch this indispensible online trade pub for the healthcare industry. Good stuff. Check it out.