Walmart and Verizon Explore 5G Stores to Power Digital Health

Rooftop antennas would provide faster connectivity and allow for faster video conferencing and diagnosis.

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Need to Know

  • Wall Street Journal sources say that Walmart and Verizon are in talks to equip stores with 5G service. 
  • Rooftop antennas would provide faster wireless data and power the Walmart’s launch of its digital health services. 
  • The service would enable video chats with doctors and access to real-time medical data including the potential to auto-register when you arrive at the store.  
  • Should the deal work out, Walmart could turn it’s nearly 4,700 US stores into medical hubs, drawing shoppers for services other than groceries and food.

Analysis

Outfitting its stores with 5G data capabilities would allow Walmart to ramp up the roll-out of its digital health services and enable faster connections in other areas of its stores. 

The next-generation network would allow Walmart to explore tech-focused features within its health services like video chats with doctors and real-time medical data that could be shared with the clinic, helping consumers auto-register when you arrive. 

According to a study, national health spending is projected and to reach nearly $6 trillion by 2027 and Walmart has had its eye on the lucrative sector. “Health care looks like a big opportunity,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said at an investor meeting last month and reported by WSJ. He emphasized that Walmart hopes to offer low-cost health-care services “in communities where health care is lacking and out of reach for many.”

Through the partnership, shoppers with 5G enabled phones would experience seamless interactions at every step of the customer journey. An app storing customer’s medial data would detect when they arrive at the Walmart location and allow for them to self-register for the medical visit. Post appointment, any prescriptions could be picked up at the pharmacy and the customer could continue to shop for grocers or other items – a seamless customer experience. 

Walmart and Verizon’s potential partnership comes only days after another giant’s announcement of its health care services—Amazon Care. Walmart’s largest competition announced advancements to its healthcare platform with a pilot program to administer healthcare services to its 54,000 Seattle-based employees and their families. The online giant also purchased online drugstore Pillpack for $753 million, and recently year won landmark approval allowing voice-activated AI, Alexa, to transmit private patient information.

Should Walmart decide to turn its stores into 5G powered medical hubs, especially in areas where doctors are sparse, customers would have all the more reason to visit. Further down the line, there could be an opportunity to pair Walmart’s health services with its newly-rumored subscription service, Walmart+

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