The advent of COVID-19 is unprecedented and its influence on our lives is unimaginable. Returning to normalcy in the way we interact, travel and work is going to require the application of latest technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) will be playing a major role to ensure social distancing and contact tracing.
Many reports point to the huge impact of IoT across various verticals, including BFSI, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, transportation, utilities, government & defense. The demand for IoT devices is rising so fast that there will be an estimated 31 million devices by the end of this year.
IoT & Social Distancing
As we begin to assemble eventually in our offices, showrooms, factories, retail stores, schools, libraries and other crowded places, the need for a mechanism to automatically ensure social distancing will become key. GPS trackers in mobile phones notify about individual’s locations; however, they do not track an individual’s relative positions. For instance, a person standing too close to a co-worker or maintaining a distance of less than 1 meter in the workplace. Dealing with these kinds of situations requires the use of IoT solutions.
IoT & Contact Tracing
Contact tracing requires continuous acquisition of data, storing and analysis of relative positions of a person in the event of infection. Wearable IoT devices using Bluetooth detect similar nearby devices with high precision, issue an alarm or signal when there is a distance breach, and store time-stamped information on footprints.
How does IoT work to ensure Social Distancing & Contact Tracing
Many leading IoT manufacturers are ready with their prototypes on post COVID-19 applications. Wearables come in the form of tags, clips or devices that can be switched on or off when entering or leaving a workplace. Using smart algorithms based on Bluetooth signals, the perimeter zones are calculated and the personnel’s exposure is measured. The data is stored on local or cloud servers, enabling the organization to generate real-time reports on the wearer’s interactions, location information, and paths. The servers are secured and compliant to privacy standards, enabling the generation of completely anonymous reports that use smart identification numbers rather than personal information. Admin users can flag off tagged persons who violate or are repetitively violate distancing rules.
The information, which is anonymized, can be used to identify early infection chains by tracing an individual’s movements. It will also assist in implementing a better sanitation response and identifying risk-free workflows. However, the framing of acceptable use policies for the data is still in the early stage. Despite fears over data privacy, a large number of businesses, schools and colleges, and manufacturing plants find the wearable tech indispensable in these menacing times. Medical and healthcare organizations have already been using IoT for patient care management for quite some years now. IoT-enabled systems help them to monitor and track remote patients, matching quality services and intelligence to automated analytics and systems.
IoT & Future
Worldwide, IoT wearables are making huge inroads across communities and industries. Some national governments are using it to track travelers, people under home quarantine, infected individuals, etc. The objective of reducing person-to-person contact requires rapid and drastic measures, both at the governance and administrative level. Given the socializing nature of humans, social distancing may continue to remain a challenge to follow and implement. IoT wearables are emerging as the first line of defense that ensures the success of social distancing in public places and at workplaces. With businesses considering IoT wearbles for their workforces, we may have already started winning the first battle in this war against Covid-19.
For more information on IoT wearables for businesses, factories, retail stores, schools, colleges, do get in touch with us.