The effects of COVID-19 have led to many ‘IoT’ (Internet of Things) projects coming to a sudden halt, whereby production lines and operating suppliers of IoT components have been required to close plantations in response to containing the virus, with social distancing and quarantine regulations.
The demand for IoT solutions has been placed on hold with the rescheduling of current and future projects from across the globe. At the same time, inability to continue with manufacturing the supply of raw components to continue with productions has also contributed to the sudden decline in IoT.
However, the outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a new way of thinking and the crisis has highlighted the increased need for IoT solutions to potentially support and prepare for future pandemics and their long-term effects.
According to Michele Mackenzie, Principal Analyst, Research at Analysys Mason, “Inevitably, COVID-19 will have a short-term impact on demand and will lead to supply-side disruptions, but it could also create longer-term opportunities for operators to explore.”
COVID-19 has already led to future ideas with solutions resulting from new technologies which are focusing on monitoring and tracking – thus minimizing health risks to the public which are primarily aimed towards healthcare providers, governments, and systematic approaches.
Governments are seeking possible channels to monitor movement, reduce overcrowding, track infected individuals, contain spreading of the virus and ensuring quarantine measures are being upheld. This data will inevitably provide information to governments with the intention of containing pandemics in a smoother, faster, and safer way.
Equally developments in smart data are being discussed to provide insights on traffic congestion, movement of tourists, public transport, and retail sectors whereby clusters of infection could occur.
In South Korea, systems tracking infected individuals are sending alerts to citizens who may have encountered an infected area or person by mobile phone messages, although ethical debates are arising with the argument of the invasion of personal privacy and human rights within these IoT tracking systems.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telemedicine could also play an important role in managing future pandemics, whereby digital interviews, assessments, and vital signs may be completed without face to face interventions.
Health suppliers and larger organisations are also considering the benefits of robotic machinery for the purpose of mass cleaning and infection control in order to reduce social interactions in hospitals and other large-scale public areas
Taiwan’s new government systems are now tracking individuals at high risk because of recent travel history in affected areas, and with those identified as high risk and under home quarantine are being monitored electronically through their mobile phones.
China, Hong Kong, and Macau have launched an ‘Entry Quarantine System’ where travellers are required to complete a health declaration form by scanning a QR code that leads to an online form, and a mobile health declaration is released via their a local telecom operator for immigration clearance for those with minimal risk.
Whilst managing the current pandemic safety is paramount at this time, we can see IoT is more likely to become a huge factor in the future role and management of pandemics with governments interest sparking and inevitably looking towards investing in IoT innovations.