Presently, the world is battling with COVID-19. The healthcare officials are working tirelessly to offer the best facilities to secure people from infection and to save those already infected. Well, lots of technological innovations are continually making a difference in healthcare systems.
Countries are bringing together all resources at their disposal and using advanced technology to reduce the effects of COVID-19 and profile people in danger.
Internet of Things (IoT), accurately, and along with other technologies such as Cloud and AI, is of great benefit during the pandemic that has deviated the economies of almost every country worldwide.
There is no doubt that technology has always come to liberate humans in times of problems. During this pandemic, the least that IoT can do is to assist in controlling the spread of coronavirus.
Pain Points of COVID – 19 Pandemic
Most organizations worldwide are trying to present the most estimable information about COVID – 19 in an easy to understand method. But there several false news doing the rounds. Because of this, it seems that the healthcare sector misjudged the issue of health literacy.
The healthcare sector is facing a lot of struggle as they are taking care of several aspects without sufficient resources at hand.
Tracking the root of the virus, attempting to develop an effective medicine or vaccine, treating extremely ill patients, securing the human transmission of the virus, etc. are critical tasks that the healthcare sector is striving to execute presently. In an urgent situation like this, IoT can prove to be beneficial.
Potential of IoT in Fighting Coronavirus
Written below are some ways in which IoT can play a vital role in assisting humans in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
IoT to Study the Outbreak
All the data gathered by mobile devices can be used to track the root of this pandemic. Professionals can use the collected data to figure out short distances and periods of the spread of coronavirus.
First, the epidemiologists can trace the origin. Secondly, everyone who came in contact with infected patients and is at the risk of being infected can Tbe tracked down.
IoT to Ensure Compliance of Quarantine
Quarantine of infected people can play a significant role in managing the additional spread of COVID – 19. Hence, it is essential that every infected person who came in contact with the infected one stick to the quarantine rules accurately.
IoT can help ensure that a person is adhering to the quarantine rules immediately; he enters the quarantine zone. Healthcare professionals can track which of the quarantined people obeyed the rules and who has broken the rules.
IoT Monitor the Patients
IoT can also prove to be a blessing for healthcare experts. It can help in decreasing their workload and also the probability of getting infected. Rather than making people queue to get tested, healthcare professionals can make people stand in their balconies and take their temperatures with the assistance of an infrared thermometer on a drone.
IoT will enable people to have their temperatures taken and uploaded to the cloud from their mobile devices for analysis. In this way, lots of data can be collected within a short time.
IoT to Make Production and Transportation Better
During this pandemic period, several medical items become a necessity. For example, to prevent doctors and nurses from getting coronavirus, personal protective equipment is essential. IoT can assist in PPE generating factories to work efficiently in a cost-effective way.
Also, medicines and vaccines are of extreme significance during this pandemic. It is vital to ensure that these products get to their destination without being affected by the weather. IoT sensors can be enabled in designated vehicles to maintain the temperature and humidity that are conveying medicines.
There is an abundance of IoT devices like smart video door phones, smart locks, smart lights, smart TVs, and smart air conditioners (ACs), among others, that can add several comfortabilities for smart home-use cases.
These devices can be managed touchless-ly by the use of voice assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri or through your smartphone.
For instance, video door phones can assist users in checking visitors at their home. With two-way audio of the video door phone, users can interact with visitors through mobile apps and can entirely abolish undesired and less-essential visitors.
Specifically, it can be very beneficial when you are handling food and e-commerce deliveries.
Also, controlling lights, fans, ACs, and other home appliances are certain without touching the switches or using remotes. It’s also possible to schedule on and off times of these appliances by decreasing the physical contact in switching on/off the appliance.
The main use cases of IoT in an office environment are Smart water and beverage dispensers, smart access controls, smart facility management that is part of the control of lighting, and AC using IoT.
Smart dispensers can be controlled through gestures, mobile app, and voice commands, eliminating any physical contact with common resources like water dispensers and coffee machines.
Smart access controls that are non-biometric and are based on the merging of RFID tokens or randomly tokens on mobile apps also allow employees at the workplace to get access to certain areas without having to touch any access control system, which is otherwise used by several employees daily.
Smart facility management doesn’t only assist in decreasing energy consumption but also eliminates the controlling of lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) at workplaces through switches.
Using a centralized cloud accessible dashboard, facility managers can help timeline, scenarios, and rules for controlling and setting proper modes for resources like lights and HVAC.
The hospitality industry has been influenced the most by COVID-19. IoT can assist the industry with zero contact check-ins, which are uninterrupted and decrease the time spent by guests at the hotels lobby.
IoT tech can add customized experience in the rooms for guests. They can interact with room services and the front desk by using voice assistants kept in their rooms.
Flipping channels or movie catalogs on your voice-operated smart TV, operating curtains in the room using voice commands, controlling room lights, and setting suitable temperature/mode on ACs. Don’t only add to the guests’ experience but also offers a touchless experience.
IoT is becoming more of an essential than luxury for homes, offices, and hotels. With social distancing in view and avoiding several touchpoints, mobile apps and voice control are the best approaches.
The researchers at IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia have developed sensor suits that can monitor human body parameters. The smart band alert users whenever their body temperature is more than 37.5 degrees.
While checking the human body’s movement, the smart band gives radio signals from which the distance from another bracelet can be regained; when two smart bands are close, they vibrate, thereby outsending an alert signal that makes people observe social distancing.
The radio signal frequency is 2.45 GHz, the same as Bluetooth, but IIT developed a proprietary protocol for comfortable and quicker detection of human closeness. By that, the smart band’s future development can design mobile apps that communicate with the bracelet using classical Bluetooth.
The citizen of China is using bracelets and rings synced with an AI platform from CloudMinds to offer consistent monitoring of vital signs, like temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels. While in Hong Kong, they are using electronic tracker wristbands to alert authorities when individuals, particularly those who recently arrived from international destinations, do not abide by the mandatory home quarantines.
Visionstate developed its first IoT buttons, which are used by hospitals in Vancouver. The buttons are called Wanda QuickTouch that deals with the need for quick deployment in a facility of any size. The IoT buttons send immediate alerts to management advising of any cleaning or maintenance problems that may pose a danger to public safety.
The technology allows facility managers to track alerts and staff response times and monitor frequent cleaning activities in the high-traffic areas.
The button tracks alert issued by staff or the general public and can be adhered to any surface and doesn’t need infrastructure to operate. The IoT buttons are battery operated and connect automatically to the LTE-M network and can be used in patient rooms, nursing stations, restrooms, or common areas.
The buttons can be used with the new Wanda mobile app, which offers facility managers with an ability to track cleaning and maintenance activities in an entire facility.
Digital thermometers provide a benefit to the user and possibly to health care professionals on a bigger scale. By abolishing the challenges of having to read the “red line,” we can be sure that patients, parents, and caregivers can read temperatures more correctly.
Several devices come with applications that enable historical records that can comfortably be distributed with a doctor or nurse, mostly through email.
These applications can do more on a bigger scale. Like how Google can discover a possible cluster of colds/flu based on the searches in an area, thermometer companies could locate a capable group of COVID-19 based on an increase in temperature in a specific area.
It could also give remote healthcare workers information as to which isolated patients may require more care.
The Making of the New Normal
The disadvantages of modern work environments can be corrected by adopting digital solutions in place of physical ones wherever possible. Holistic digital transformation could provide us with paperless, presence fewer offices developed with efficiencies.
New-age technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) will surely be at the heart of the new normal.
And with unencumbered process controls and little hierarchical restrictions, policy-making could become quicker and more capable of keeping up with the transformational needs of a dynamic business that wish to increase their presence regardless of the current limitations.
Extensive digitization will also indicate lighter and more intuitive office applications that respond instantly, reducing lags. A greater dependence on interactive tools such as BOTs, WhatsApp, and video-based technological solutions could also point to decrease physical effort alongside more significant and more effective customer interaction.
The future of customer experience in the new average looks especially promising.
The notion of humans turning to technology in times of problems is not new. When the world is struggling to battle with coronavirus, those mentioned above are some of how IoT is helping to prevent the spreading. Another key pain point is the deficiency of health literacy.
The extensive use of digital platforms is the solution to increasing health literacy among people.
The underlying technology and the IoT components that can be influenced to allow a healthcare system to deal with disease outbreaks already exist; nevertheless, they are separated and not yet connected.
Therefore, the system requires the ability to rapidly develop its infrastructure to connect the components of data collection, processing, and storage, so that the operation can scale and enlarge for disease tracking, preventive quarantine, and patient care of the infected ones.