As we begin the New Year, the top question is: where are the opportunities?
The key picks for 2013 are investment in innovation and the new role of mobile devices.

Investment in Innovation

78364106.jpgAs the market environment becomes increasingly competitive, the need to innovate is the lifeblood for change and prosperity.

The good news is that despite a global recession and challenging economic times, worldwide R&D spending increased 9.6 percent in 2011, to $603 billion, according to Booz and Co.’s Global Innovation 1000. Coming on the heels of last year’s rise in spending, this is a hopeful sign that the nation is emerging from the latest financial crisis with a stronger commitment to innovation investment than after the dot-com meltdown in 2000. In the first three years following that collapse, spending increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent, compared with 9.5 percent between 2009 and 2011, according to the study.

Computing and CE companies continued their reign as the top R&D spenders, accounting for 28 percent of spending worldwide ($167.2 billion). Two other leading sectors were healthcare and automotive.

As we move into 2013, these investments suggest new reasons for optimism, particularlywhen looking at trends related to consumer habits like BYOD (bring your own device) and the burgeoning consumerization of healthcare.

Mobility is Central

Mobility is transforming the way consumers work, organize their lives and spend leisure time. Smartphones, tablets and laptops are essential lifelines at home, work and while traveling and these devices will become even more central to our lives. Here are two examples that are catching our imagination:

Connected Living
Smartphones and tablets are becoming the command centers, and they are getting ‘smarter.’ They have powerful processors and can access a wealth of information, whether from the cloud or in our pockets, as they continuously collect and process the information that is important to us.

Mobile devices are on a growth trajectory and will control TVs, appliances, thermostats and security systems, and will even warm up your car.

Health and Wellness
Innovations in mobile technologies are now converging with healthcare to produce mHealth solutions. Silos between the health/research community and the technology universe are being swept away, evident in December at the mHealth Summit. A new generation of apps, sensors, security, data capture and analytics are opening up opportunities for access to healthcare.

This starts to hit home as the U.S. healthcare system shifts from being physician-centric to patient/consumer-centric—and at a time when a record number of boomers are aging at home. With changes in the healthcare laws, consumers will be empowered to play a bigger role in their own care, including chronic disease management. Currently, there is a shift from treatment to prevention.

Mobile technology apps will enable providers to prevent or minimize problems before they happen. And in the event of an episode, patient access and coordination among providers will be easier and more efficient. Mobile technology will increasingly enable more care to be delivered outside the physician’s office.

The bottom line is that the next generation of consumer technology products will advance health and wellness to enable better care at a lower cost. Welcome to the New Year!

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