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Business and Technology Insights

Life Sciences and the IoT: Companies Bet Big on Patient Monitoring

 
April 2, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) is generating a lot of buzz these days. It is estimated that the IoT will generate upwards of $19 trillion over the course of the next ten years. Thats a huge number because were talking about a very large canvas when it comes to the IoT. The IoT network spans the workplace and everything outside of it. Examples of the IoT include: activity trackers such as FitBit, hotel rooms with smart phone controlled check-in and room key functionality, automotive software that detects the need for repairs and schedules a service appointment, the list goes on and on. Marketers rave about the enhanced user experience delivered by the IoT and businesses rave about the financial impact of the IoT.
With its myriad applications, we see the IoT cutting across nearly every industry, but Life Sciences stands out as one of the most synergistic sectors. Some of the early commercial successes in the IoT have been brought to market by pharmaceutical and medical device companies or the biotech companies that work with them. Weve seen smart baby monitors that enable parents to monitor an infants biometrics; micro-chip enabled prescription bottles that provide patient reminders to take medicine, send physician alerts, trigger prescription refills and appointment scheduling; a wearable biometric sensor for cardiac patients that transmits data to physicians to minimize doctor visits; and a host of other applications, many of which have already been approved by the FDA. Virtually the entire Life Sciences ecosystem could be touched by the IoT. Clinical trial design, data collection, R&D, marketing practices, treatment delivery, corporate governance and manufacturing could all evolve with the advent of the IoT.

To better understand how Life Sciences executives view the opportunities within their own firms, TCS recently conducted a survey focused on the IoT. We spoke with Life Sciences executives from 66 Life Sciences firms across four global geographies, including North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Nearly 80% of all companies interviewed have annual revenues of $1 Billion+; 20% have annual revenues that exceed $30 Billion. In 2015, these firms spent an average of $68 Million annually, and project their IoT expenditures to increase in the coming years. By 2018, that IoT spend is projected to increase by 10% in average spend per company. One of the most interesting things we learned was how and where Life Sciences executives are spending their IoT dollars. At 27%, customer monitoring commands the largest share of overall IoT spend, followed closely by product monitoring (27%), supply chain monitoring (23%) and premises monitoring (21%). Life Sciences executives indicated that this prioritization within IoT spending was likely to remain consistent in the short to medium term.

Whats particularly exciting about IoT advances in Life Sciences as opposed to other industries is that they carry the potential to not only impact business revenues, but also to improve care, treatment and quality of life for patients. The decision on the part of Life Sciences firms to allocate the largest share of their IoT budget to customer monitoring should continue to advance these valuable gains. Remote patient monitoring leveraging IoT-enabled wearable technology has the potential to improve health outcomes while reducing the cost of medical care delivery.
We think this is just the beginning of IoT innovation within Life Sciences and the future is full of opportunities with concepts waiting to be discovered and ideas waiting to be implemented.

Larissa is a member of the Life Sciences Go-to-Market team in TCS' Global Consulting Practice. She is part of the TCS Accelerated Leadership Program (TALP) - a select leadership development program for MBAs founded by the TCS CEO, Natarajan Chandrasekaran. She has 10 years of work experience in Strategy and Business Development across various industries - including Media, CPG, Luxury, Insurance and Life Sciences. Prior to joining TCS, Larissa completed her MBA at Columbia Business School. She holds a BA in International Political Economy from Fordham University.