Video communication has been the topic of fascination since the era of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Russia. Earlier even a small glimpse of human form was considered an achievement. Today, modern technology has advanced to such an extent that even HD video is considered as primitive. This has been possible with the implementation of broadband networks all across the United States and other western countries that have enabled the west to rely on an infrastructure as a fundamental layer for the advancement of video conferencing solutions. The progress in video conferencing technology can be attributed to the three facets that support the industry, namely: device manufacturers, network solution providers and system integrators. The cumulative progress of these industry segments have lead to the overall growth of the video conferencing market, and thereby the video telemedicine applications. Telemedicine during the 1980’s relied heavily on the audio conferencing technology; video conferencing was implemented but with little success as the quality of the video transferred was not great on a dial up connection network. With the integration of fiber optic broadband system and high quality video sensors and webcams, video telemedicine has been touted by many as a revolution in modern medicine enabling face to face visit. Video telemedicine is therefore expected to replace traditional medicine in most aspects, in the near future. With technology advancing at a high pace, this possibility shall soon be a reality.
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The video telemedicine market is primarily categorized into communication technology and applications. The application segment includes cardiology, neurology, dermatology, orthopedics, oncology, radiology, gynecology, pathology, and dentistry. Gynecology is the segment leader in terms of market revenue among the application areas of video telemedicine. Increasing awareness among women regarding female health risks and rising favor of privacy enabled doctor consultations have lead to the growth of video consultations in gynecology segment. However, neurology segment is witnessing the fastest growth owing to rising number of psychiatric consultation cases. Besides, a range of neurological disorders and conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have ensured long term chronic care patient returns that result in increased video consultations. Dentistry, dermatology, oncology and radiology segments however will undergo reserved growth during the forecast period. The application areas such as pathology and cardiology are expected to demonstrate growth potential in the future beyond the forecast period although their present growth rate is not significant. This may be attributed to the increasing prevalence of cardiology diseases and rising concerns regarding contagious infections.
Among the various communication technologies used in video telemedicine, ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) leads the present video telemedicine market in 2013. On the other hand, 4G (LTE, Wimax, Others) is expected to exhibit the highest growth rate for the forecast period. This can be attributed to the widely present fixed line communication networks such as ADSL and ISDN that are available globally. 4G technologies on the other hand are presently restricted to the western countries where it observes great support and growth and is yet to gain interest in the emerging markets of the Asia Pacific region. 3G technologies come close to being the second most growing technology in video telemedicine. Satellite communication and broadband ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) are communication technologies that have an attractive growth potential; however they consist of a smaller fraction of the overall global video telemedicine market.
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Geographically, North America was the largest video telemedicine market in terms of revenue for the year 2013 followed by the Europe. The fastest growth is also attributed to North America due to the highly developed and penetrated video telemedicine market in the U.S. Telemedicine itself has roots within the United States and shall continue to directly encourage growth within the video telemedicine solution with the advancement of technology and the rising cost of healthcare in the country. The Asia Pacific region exhibits second fastest growth rate during the forecast period. Rapidly growing population and increasing government initiatives in emerging countries such as China and India are some of the primary reasons why this region boasts of a high growth rate. In addition, the existence of a large number of device manufacturing companies making cheaper equipment and increasing penetration of network providers will ensure steady market penetration and growth for the future.
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The video telemedicine market is observed to comprise mainly of device manufacturers, system integrators and network solution providers. Few players present themselves as the largest players in the global video telemedicine market. Among device manufacturers, the largest players are: Logitech International S.A and AMD global Telemedicine. Among network service providers Cisco Sytems Inc. was the largest player and among system integrators Polycom Inc. was the largest player. Overall, in the global video telemedicine market, Cisco Systems, Inc. have the largest global presence, offering a wide range of video telemedicine solutions and services worldwide. Their market presence in emerging markets and expertise in providing software solutions paved the way to their stronghold in the industry. Other companies include Siemens Healthcare, Sony Corporation, GlobalMed Inc., VSee lab Inc., Vidyo Inc., Vermont Tel, LifeSize Communication Inc., Permier Global Services Inc., Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corporation.
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