John Smith is in training for an amateur triathlon. Fitted to his upper left arm is a pulse measuring instrument, around his right wrist a step tracker. Both feed statistics and monitoring into his cell phone, which is also tracking his speed, distance, location and the gradients of his route. When he’s done, another app will tally up his nutritional requirements post-workout, while another provides the cool-down program to aid muscle recovery.
Meanwhile, his diabetic wife’s phone buzzes on the living room table. A sensor in her body has detected low blood sugar and the buzz is to remind her to go and chew on a cola bottle. Welcome to the wunderbar world of the health app.
A buoyant market
The market for health apps is one of the fastest-growing within Germany’s digital scene. An aging population increasingly concerned with its health and longevity, the rapid pace of digitization, the increased occurrence of chronic disease and heightened interest in health and fitness have all contributed to the phenomenon. Be it app, sensor or mobile health (mHealth) hardware development, or telematic tracking, there is value to be found all the way along the chain. Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) estimates that the global mHealth market revenue will reach €23bn by the end of 2017, while a number of forecasts see the German mHealth market growing to about €3bn in 2017.