Has the pandemic accelerated the need to deploy IoT Solutions?

Date: November 24, 2020

Author: Ipshita Biswas

Has the pandemic accelerated the need to deploy IoT Solutions?

Figure 1 - Has the pandemic accelerated the need to deploy IoT Solutions? - PathPartner

Covid-19 has brought an unprecedented sense of urgency in the adoption of IoT Solutions. The prevailing uncertainties have prompted organizations to rethink their spending with a particular focus on technology. Digitization, which was gradually entering our lives as an option based on situations, has overnight become the norm. Video conferencing has become the sole mode of office meetings. Similarly, once preferred by just a fraction of millennials who found grocery shopping a bit of a hassle, online grocery shopping has now become the first choice for getting the groceries safely delivered at your doorsteps.

For every sector today, achieving efficiency and cutting costs has become the priority, and IoT is seen as the path. For several businesses, overnight adoption of technologies had become paramount to stay afloat. Technology further enabled several sectors to meet the unbalanced demands that emerged due to covid-19. Let us look at a few industries that had to transform overnight to accommodate the growing needs amid safety concerns. 

Healthcare

IoT Solutions in Healthcare?

Figure 2 – IoT Solutions in Healthcare? - PathPartner

How often would we have chosen to consult a doctor over video? For even the smallest of the issues, we had to visit a clinic. A few months down the line and the situation looks starkly different.

Within a few weeks, doctors adopted telehealth and continued treating their patients remotely unless there was an absolute urgency. Started in 1950s, telemedicine was mostly used to connect doctors and patients who couldn’t meet physically either due to the distance or transportation issues. Thanks to the proliferation of smart devices and advancements in wireless connectivity, real-time transmission of high-quality video is no longer a barrier to a successful online consultation.

Pulse oximeter, the compact, low-cost, battery-powered device which is now available in every household, didn't always look the same. It’s only the sudden surge in its demand which necessitated its transformation from trailing wires and a considerable amount of patient-to-staff contact.

During the initial week, when the pandemic had shaken the entire nation and the healthcare system had been put into massive stress, the equipment shortage became apparent, which further prompted the efficient use of the existing resources. That's how medical equipment tracking became a necessity. The need to track the assets and the efficient usage of the existing healthcare resources had always been there in the healthcare industry. According to a survey from NursingTimes, In U.S alone, every month, 6000 hours of nursing is lost in search of the equipment. But it's only in recent times, that the hospitals and healthcare centers couldn't afford to lose even a few minutes searching for the equipment.

Our UWB based Asset Tracking solution is one of the most accurate when it comes to determining the exact location. With battery-powered tags of various form factors, our solution can be customized to suit every industry's need.

Food Industry

IoT Solution in Food Industry

Figure 3 – IoT Solution in Food Industry - PathPartner

The industry where hygiene plays a significant role has been investing a lot more in ensuring cleanliness and safety. In July 2020, the FDA released the 'New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint’ built on the 2011 Food Safety and Modernisation Act (FSMA). The blueprint states the goals of creating a transparent, digital, and safer food system by applying Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and other technologies in place.

"During the pandemic, we realized that widespread traceability provides greater supply chain visibility," FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said. “This, in turn, can help the FDA and the food industry anticipate the kind of imbalances in the marketplace that led to temporary shortages of certain commodities and created food waste when producers lost customers because restaurants, schools, and other sites temporarily closed.

“In addition, enhanced traceability, coupled with advanced analytical tools, could help us spot potential problems in advance and help us prevent or lessen their impact.”

Along with the surge in demand for medical equipment, the pandemic has also seen the demand for groceries grow. Temperature problems and shocks damage several food products during transit, creating a barrier to the required number of products reaching into the hands of the people. Such kind of wastage amounts to 40% of total food waste. To increase the probability of food products reaching in sound condition, the freight carriers and the distributors must keep track of the real-time conditions inside the transport vehicles. That’s where the role of IoT Systems enters the picture. The wireless sensors can record real-time data on temperature, vibrations, etc, and send that to the cloud for further analysis.

Retail

IoT Solutions in Retail

Figure 4 – IoT Solutions in Retail - PathPartner

One of our previous articles mentions the technologies that are gradually becoming a necessity in retail operations. The article talks about AR/VR based virtual fitting rooms, contactless payment, in-store robots occupancy detection, which are gaining prominence as stores worldwide, are reopening. But owing to the level of efficiency achieved due to the use of these technologies, its expected that they have made a permanent entry.

The retail industry is one of the most fast-changing ones, with disruptions on every scale. In such a dynamic environment, concerned organizations have to react quickly to stay afloat and maintain profitability. As retailers are getting adjusted to the shift from selling products to selling customer experiences, embracing technology is the only way forward. Pandemic has pushed these efforts further. Alongside enabling online order processes, the stores are adopting several means to attract customers.

Occupancy detection, People counting, Occupancy Monitoring, and Footfall Counter have become a significant concern when it comes to public places. Our Radar SDK is a complete firmware package that unifies a powerful mmWave Sensor (TI/NXP/Infineon) with PathPartner’s advanced software development capabilities.

Conclusion

Even before the pandemic emerged, the shift towards digital infrastructure was evident as an effort to become more efficient and safer. With safety and profitability being the top priority in these unprecedented times, this shift has only accelerated. According to Vodafone’s 2020 IoT Spotlight survey, 84% of the businesses surveyed consider IoT essential to maintain business continuity. 97% further said that IoT is now vital to the success of their business. The report also states that 77% of the respondents have escalated their existing IoT projects' pace, while 72% have kickstarted new projects. 84% of them consider the IoT device integration to be a higher priority now. Among the companies which had previously not taken IoT implementations very seriously, 73% are considering accelerating their IoT adoption plans. A good number of the respondents further indicated that their core business strategy had undergone a positive transformation due to adopting IoT. Some also added that they can now make a more informed decision due to IoT data. 

This study shows that in the current scenario, IoT is viewed instead as a way of working and much more than just a technology. This new way of working aims to help businesses become more efficient and responsive to unexpected events and sudden changes are customer demands and market conditions.

Thus, the accelerated adoption of IoT is seen not just as an all in one tool for improving operational efficiency, boosting employee productivity, enhancing the customer experience; helping businesses change their existing business models by giving rise to new products and services.

Are you planning to adopt IoT Solutions? Want to know more about our expertise in Sensors, Connectivity, Clout, etc.? Please write to us at marcom@pathpartnertech.com

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