It is very difficult to interpret what a person is thinking or how he is feeling just by looking at his face. At times, it becomes difficult to even for patients to anticipate how he is feeling.
The “mood-aware” IoT devices have provided a solution to this problem. This device collects information such as the heart-rate and blood pressure of a person from which it identifies a patient's mental state.
The major challenge here is that this device can’t predict the symptoms or the reasons for mood oscillations with complete accuracy, but is definitely very efficient compared to the traditional psychological methodologies.
Deploying tiny internet-connected robots inside the human body enables us to perform complex surgeries that require less dissection and heals at a faster rate. These devices are very small and the disruption caused is very minimal. These devices are also capable of adapting to conditions inside the human body. The IFR (International Federation of Robotics) predicts that by 2022, the field of robotics in healthcare will reach up to $9.1 billion in the market.
Robots in healthcare, assist doctors in performing a variety of surgical procedures, automate the laboratory and sanitizing the hospitals and clinics. The recent trend in robotics is nanotechnology which is also called microbots which range from 1mm to the size of a cell. It is anticipated that these microbots can repair damaged tissues and even cancer.
Chronic respiratory diseases like Asthma involve attacks that occur suddenly. By using an IoT-connected inhaler, the frequency of attacks and details on the environment where the patient lives can be monitored. This helps in understanding what caused the attack for the patient. These devices are also designed in such a way that it sends an alert to the patient when he forgets the inhaler at home or when he improperly uses the inhaler.
Telemedicine and telehealth
Telehealth includes remote healthcare services, training, administrative meetings and medical education along with clinical services. Whilst, telemedicine helps in connecting medical practitioners with rural people who don’t have proper healthcare facilities. Telemedicine is also very cost-effective and increases patient engagement.
Wearable health devices
Wearable health devices are gaining more attention among people these days as they provide accurate and real-time physiological information like heart-rate, number of steps per day, oxygen consumption, etc...These devices are compact in size so that they can be easily carried anywhere. There are also other kinds of wearable devices like ingestible sensors and connected contact lenses.
Impact on IoT Security
COVID has had a multiplier effect on the IoT networks. It provided a tempting opportunity for cyber attackers to target IoT networks. As per Nokia’s Threat Intelligence report 2020, the mobile infection rates soared by 30% when the COVID scare was at its peak during March – April.
As millions of professionals were working from home, targeting a network of connected devices became easy. Apart from computer and mobile devices, the range of vulnerable domestic products included thermostats, digital cameras, doorbells, etc. Not to miss, healthcare institutions and other workspaces that lacked enterprise-grade security protocols faced the wrath.
The Dark Nexus (dark_nexus) is a common botnet that specifically targets IoT networks. It installs itself on the targeted devices using credentials and launches distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
The botnet preyed on industrial setups through routers, smart meters, predictive monitoring devices and controllers. Dark Nexus also preys on devices in industrial settings, such as utility routers, smart meters and industrial controllers. If successfully launched on any of the equipment, the entire infrastructure would be adversely affected.
The self-replicating Mirari botnet targeted thousands of home routers with weak passwords. Releasing a massive DDoS attack, it spreads extensively through connected devices to other IoT networks. Therefore, a large number of computing devices were at risk.
Enterprise, therefore, had to strengthen their trust in cybersecurity. As per the PWC study, 96% of executives are willing to propose a complete overhaul in a cybersecurity strategy. 50% of surveyed executives have agreed to include cybersecurity in all business decisions which is up by 25% from 2020.
However, the impact of COVID-19 on the IoT market has mixed response from the experts. Most experts foresee it as an opportunity for the technology to pitch its worth from domestic devices to driving corporate processes remotely. With more investment pumping in for IoT securities, IoT is still the safe haven for stakeholders. For the short term though, enterprises would look forward to cutting down their CAPEX and steer the funds to automate the processes. More automation means a wider scope for IoT products across industrial and domestic consumption.
In the post-COVID era, the dependency on IoT products will further increase with services including drones, asset tracking, etc.
Impact on Product Development Scenario
The curve of IoT solution development dipped in the early days of the crisis. As per ETR, the demand for new projects was abruptly reduced by 4%. In March when the lockdown was at its peak, 50% of IoT project developments were abruptly halted.
In March 2020, 3GPP announced that the highly anticipated release of 16 of their 5G service was postponed in speculation of shortage in demand. But then that was the case for the entire manufacturing sector and underlining IoT alone would be unjustified.
Surprisingly, IoT turned out to be one of the least affected technologies in the product development landscape. Take Zoom for example, the most popular brand name that brought global students and professionals on its easy-to-adopt video meeting service. The service provider reported 200 million daily users across devices.
This held true for all IoT product developments that involved networks, WFH infrastructure and mobile devices. Many service providers offered free upgrades to the IoT applications during the lockdown period. Since dependency on the digitization of connected products and processes increased, halted IoT project developments were resumed.
Amidst the rising demand pressures from the market and shortage of resources, IoT project owners have been outsourcing key development functions to 3rd party agencies. In fact on Ioterra’s B2B IoT marketplace, the project engagements between product owners and resources increased by 50%. The range of services included product feasibility analysis, hardware prototyping and platform designing, firmware development and assembly line infrastructure for mass production of the products.
Other key marketplaces such as the AT&T IoT marketplace capitalized on the on-demand services for IoT product development. These included consultative services for hardware designing, on-demand developer kits and cellular connectivity solutions.
The surging demand for IoT solutions will have a direct impact on the demand for resources across various fields. The consumer electronics industry that lost 25% market in COVID expects to bounce back with new releases of products. More appliances mean greater scope and adoption for IoT solutions and thus an explosive rise in opportunities for electronics engineers.
In the pre-COVID era, the demand for IoT skills grew explosively by 304% that shows no signs of slowing down in 2021. Professionals outsourcing agency Capita found that 3/4th of IoT enterprises were facing a skills gap in IoT. In fact, LinkedIn introduced 1000 hours of free courses in IoT to address these gaps and help produce more professionals in this line of business.
Ioterra’s founders, Daniel Price, Abhinav Dubey, and Danny deLaveaga who are connected to hundreds of professional IoT services and solutions vendors through their platform, believe that 2021 will see a new range of skills in demand. These include robotics, embedded systems engineers, circuit designers, firmware experts and IoT architects.
Impact of COVID in Logistics
IoT in logistics enables data extraction from all the devices within the network. This helps supply chain companies in strategic decision making by analyzing the real-time data that is being extracted.
Logistics is one of the most affected industries due to the wrath of Covid-19. During this unprecedented time, the demand kept increasing and the supply chain has been affected as the industries were indefinitely closed. Which then caused a shortage of essential commodities like food packers and medicinal drugs to the affected areas. So, the logistics and supply chain companies had to implement new methodologies to compensate for this loss. Some of the important applications of IoT in logistics are mentioned below.
Location management systems
By implementing IoT in logistics, smart location management systems can be built. These applications can track vehicles, packages and show information about estimated delivery timings, the status of the goods. This application tracks any changes and reflects them in real-time.
Inventory tracking and warehouse management:
IoT in logistics allows storage and management of goods according to the stock levels. This provides transparency to the companies while keeping track of their previous operations and also supports inventory management.
IoT helps in the development of smart warehouses which ensures proper storage of goods and in locating the needed item. Smart warehouses are found to be very efficient as it reduces the cost of labor and increases the efficiency while reducing the possibility of manual errors.
Drone-based delivery system:
With mandatory social distancing and lockdown being implemented everywhere, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones have taken the stage now. The UAVs are majorly used in retail, logistics, e-commerce and agriculture. IoT in logistics and drone-based delivery systems enables automated process execution and faster delivery of goods.
The drone package delivery system is expected to reach $2.1 billion in 2023.
New trends in logistics
1) Reducing vehicle emissions:
People are more cautious about the environment these days. Speaking of vehicle emissions, all that is being emitted is unburnt fuel. IoT devices can monitor the efficiency of the engine in the vehicle and send the information to some application where it is reviewed and decided if the vehicle is fit for driving or not.
2) Customer satisfaction:
Ensuring customer satisfaction is the best way to keep the business up and running. In this regard, IoT technology plays a major role in supply chain management, logistics and the warehouse where the materials are stored, packed and shipped.
In this fast-moving world, manual labor seems to be time-consuming and a lot of money has to be invested. From online contract forms and online payments, automation with software or CRM platforms can be of great use.
By 2022, 90% of industrial enterprises will implement edge computing on their business.
Millions of professionals were restricted indoors in COVID stricken 2020. As per the Forrester workforce survey, by mid-2020, about 58% of global corporations had 50% of their employees working remotely. Moreover, an average of 11 devices (things) per resource was connected to the internet. This includes professionals, school & college students and artists.
This is a clear indication of our increasing reliance on IoT enabled processes to a scale beyond previous predictions. This sudden increase in IoT adoption isn’t looking like slowing down and enterprises would want to take complete advantage. Given the circumstances, WFH shall get permanent.
Internet of All things
It is safe to believe that IoT will not be the same in the post COVID era. Its utilization will go beyond driving basic routine tasks. Going forward, enterprises must prepare to detach from traditional practices and embrace total digitization not only at the consumer experience level but also at the operations and product development level.
This research is produced in collaboration with Expersight, market intelligence and advisory firm that helps organizations of every scale and size in finding the right SaaS solution. The research is authored by Yash Mehta, Akshay Sharma and Vasupradha Ramachandran. The fact-checking, insight delivery and sponsorship were done by Abhinav Dubey - CSO, Ioterra.
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