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3/8/2007
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Health-Care Companies, Governments Jump On Wireless Data Bandwagon

The In-Stat report found that the main drivers of growth in mobile data usage have shifted from financial services, insurance, and real-estate applications to health-care and government apps.

The growing use of wireless data by the health-care industry and government organizations is helping to boost an already fast-growing technology market, according to a report by research firm In-Stat.

Revenue from wireless data applications has surged from $600 million in 1996 to $7.2 billion in 2006, the market research firm reported Wednesday in a report titled "Wireless Data in Vertical Markets." In-Stat surveyed a selection of North American executives in researching the report.

The report found that the main drivers of growth in mobile data usage have shifted from financial services, insurance, and real-estate applications to health-care and government apps.

"The most popular applications involve enabling workers to do their jobs in more places," said Bill Hughes, In-Stat analyst, in a statement.

As an example of interest and commitment in the use of vertical online data, Microsoft said late last month that it will make a major new push to offer health-care software combined with Internet services. The company recently acquired Web health-care data provider Medstory.

"The acquisition," Microsoft said, "represents a strategic move for Microsoft in the consumer health search arena and signals a long-term commitment toward the development of a broader consumer health strategy."

Microsoft cited a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that found that 8 million U.S. people visit the Web for health information every day.

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