Docomo, Omron Healthcare launch connected health venture in Japan

By Neil Versel
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Japanese telecom NTT Docomo is teaming up with medical equipment manufacturer Omron Healthcare to launch a new wireless and mobile healthcare venture.

The newly formed Docomo Healthcare will provide wireless links to various Omron devices, including blood-pressure cuffs, sleep monitors and body composition scales, allowing consumers to upload personal data to the cloud via smartphones. The data will support remote health management, according to Tokyo-based Docomo.

The venture also promises an unspecified "wide range of services to meet the needs of all lifestyles and the various stages of life by cooperating with various content providers, including companies in health-related fields," according to a press release.

By March 2013, the two companies plan on combining Docomo's two-year-old i-Bodymo health and wellness platform with Omron's WellnessLINK, a similar service for self-management of wellness data that includes mobile access. WellnessLINK is aimed at the wellness market rather than older people with chronic diseases, according to a report in MobileHealthLive, an online publication of the GSM Association.

Docomo Health

"Through the establishment of this new company, Docomo and Omron Healthcare will tap the resources of both companies to make a full-scale entry into the healthcare services market and vastly advance healthcare communications," Docomo says in the press release says.

Docomo and Omron already have built some connectivity in healthcare. Since 2009, NTT Docomo and handset manufacturer Fujitsu have offered a line of easy-to-use phones for seniors that synch with Omron medical devices.

NTT Docomo owns 66 percent of the Docomo Healthcare venture, while Omron holds 34 percent of shares. Docomo Healthcare is capitalized with 1.3 billion yen ($16.3 million) in cash reserves, according to the telecommunications company. The venture will be headed by Hajime Takebayashi, former CEO of Omron's software division.