A New Vision for the New Year: My Predictions for 2016.
By Jonathan Chevallier, CEO
With 2015 drawing to a close, we're looking back on a very busy and very successful – twelve months. From new trials of our Oxecam technology in custody suites with the Metropolitan Police (in London), to government funding for our work at Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital, we've certainly achieved a lot at Oxehealth, and exciting new developments have been made in the digital health market at large too.
But what can we expect to see in 2016? Here's where I think we can expect to see new progress made in the market as we enter the New Year.
- Computer vision moves further into the mainstream
Computer vision is already being widely used in multiple simple environments from manufacturing to number plate recognition (ANPR) and security. However, it's beginning to establish its credibility in other, more complex environments, and its capabilities are growing rapidly. A hot topic in 2015, self-driving cars may begin to boost the profile of computer vision, as could camera derived health monitoring like our own Oxecam.
- Long-term camera monitoring of health is tried and tested
Having ourselves conducted two trials this year monitoring the health of subjects in secure rooms with cameras, I expect to see the technology proven over an extended timescale next year. Currently limited to short-term trials, testing over a period of months will establish the viability of using camera-based health monitoring for long term usage in prisons, police cells and mental health units.
- The wearables bubble deflates
Though massive Christmas sales (and short-lived New Years' Resolutions) will undoubtedly offer a seasonal boost to the wearables market, I predict the bubble will further deflate in 2016. Wearables, once hyped as the 'next big thing' for healthcare IT, have been in some decline over the course of 2015 and though new devices will provide some up-tick, interest will continue to dwindle as people come to understand their limitations for long-term usage outside the affluent, worried well.
- The ageing population grows
We're an ageing population, and 2016 is unlikely to see the trend reversed. In fact, in the UK some 750,000 new people will join the ranks of those aged 65 years and older, while only an estimated 400,000 will die (and these patterns will likely be repeated across the developed world). It's this market that needs to be the focus if medical technology is to offer a real solution for those that need it most.
- Healthcare systems are stretched thinner
It isn't just the NHS under constant scrutiny and financial pressure, and I predict that healthcare systems across the developed world will be stretched even thinner in 2016. A growing, ageing population with complex healthcare needs presents particular difficulties to already overstretched systems, as does the large population with unhealthy lifestyles. Not only financial, but innovative technical solutions will need to be sought out and developed to manage these increasing, and increasingly intricate demands.
Certainly the market is growing apace, and beginning to move in some exciting new directions. I look forward to seeing how things unfold as we make our own strides forward here at Oxehealth in 2016. Here's to a very Merry Christmas, and great things to come in the New Year.