According to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight, the number of active users of family locator services in Europe and North America is forecasted to grow from 16 million in 2011 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34 percent to reach 70 million in 2016. In terms of number of users, family locator services is the largest segment for people monitoring and safety solutions based on either GPS-enabled smartphones or dedicated cellular/GPS location devices.
Many parents are now discovering free and low cost apps that can turn a smartphone into a location device that enable monitoring of family members such as children or elderly. Growing adoption of smartphones has also enabled rapid uptake of business-oriented location apps, such as workforce management services that can improve operational efficiency in organisations with mobile employees. Industry sectors leading the adoption of workforce management include construction, distribution, healthcare and companies with extensive field services operations.
Dedicated location devices can be better suited than smartphones for some people location services. Numerous device vendors address the needs of people caring for persons suffering from various medical conditions, such as autism and other cognitive limitations, epilepsy, cardiac problems and diabetes. Another market for dedicated people tracking devices include systems that assist seniors living at home or in care homes. These systems are usually called telecare systems or social alarms in Europe and Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) in the US. Berg Insight estimates that there are already 5 million users of the first generation social alarms connected to wireline networks in Europe and North America. “The addressable market for the next generation mobile social alarms is large as seniors are becoming increasingly active”, says André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight. He adds that the design of mobile telecare devices is very important since the wearer should not feel embarrassed by having a device that can be perceived as age-defining.
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