COVID, as we all know, has disrupted enterprise processes to an extent beyond our predictions and readiness. As millions of professionals have been locked indoors, enterprises are left with no choice but to embrace digitization through connected devices. The Internet of Things (IoT) was anticipated as the technology of the future has become a necessity now. It has a greater responsibility of addressing key complexities in domestic as well as industrial setups. Amidst an increase in market demand and lack of resources, IoT project development initiatives are going through an exhilarating phase.
In the following report, we analyze the scope of IoT in the post COVID era through key studies performed off late.
Key Adoption drivers
The outbreak of Covid-19 has affected most of the business verticals and the sales have dropped greatly in automotive, travel and many other industries. To bring back the business momentum, companies have come up with post-Covid strategies. These strategies demand IoT-based solutions that have the potential to accelerate the sales process or reduce expenses in both enterprises and customer service verticals.
After thoroughly analyzing the post-Covid business strategy, companies have concluded that improved operational efficiency and creating new connected products and services will be the adoption drivers in terms of IoT. Additionally, the companies must also be able to provide solutions in the short-term while satisfying the needs of the end customer.
The Internet of Behaviour
The pandemic has had a direct impact on our mindsets. It has transformed many enterprise policies towards in-house safety measures that were previously mostly restricted to accidents. Now, organizations look forward to embracing technology solutions in ensuring that all safety measures are followed by the staff on the floor. As per Gartner, IoT enabled technologies will be extensively used. For example, using sensors or RFID tags to monitor employees sanitizing or washing hands wherever required and using computer vision to ensure a mask on every face. Using behavioral data to ensure safety guidelines has a new title from Gartner called the “Internet of Behaviour”.
Career opportunities in IoT product development
The impact of Covid-19 in our society and economy has created a situation where companies have to automate their business processes further. This acceleration in the field of IoT has created a lot of opportunities in almost every field that is related to IoT. IoT product development is not easy and finding the right product development partners to build an IoT product is equally riddled with challenges. Some of the major job roles that will stem from this accelerated growth fueled by Covid-19 are cloud and cybersecurity, risk management, IoT engineering and architecture.
Cloud and cybersecurity
The Covid-19 pandemic has created a new trend of working from home. As a result of this, businesses have been shifting towards digitization and cloud-based business models. This transformation has become prone to cyberattacks like hacking, identity theft and phishing attacks. The previous methods of security were confined to a certain environment. Anybody who has surpassed this confinement region can have complete access to data within the entire environment.
By 2022, the revenue of worldwide public cloud services is estimated to be around $364,062 million. As more companies keep adopting digital transformation, securing the data eventually becomes the top priority. The demand for cloud and cybersecurity is set to increase by 13% and 11.8% respectively in the upcoming years. This created a reason for companies to improvise their security model that includes zero trust.
According to Forbes research, the worth of the global cybersecurity market as of 2020 was $173 billion and it is expected to reach $270 billion by 2026.
To ensure the integrity of the security systems and to find loopholes that can compromise security is the next priority. The role of a risk analyst is to keep a check on the security measures and to execute a recovery plan in advance. Implementing artificial intelligence and machine learning on security models help in fraud detection. This method is capable of detecting fraud or threats in real-time, as the business is actively running.
IoT engineering and architecture
IoT platforms are developed by IoT engineers. These platforms are exclusively built for increasing working efficiency and are capable of sensing, storing, analyzing and integrating massive amounts of gathered data. While developing these platforms, an IoT engineer has to have knowledge and experience in various fields such as networking, hardware development and cloud computing.
IoT architecture refers to a network of connected elements such as sensors, actuators, and cloud services. The IoT architect puts together these devices in a way that it collects and processes data and arrives at solutions for solving business-related problems.
Trends in IoT Product Development
The IoT landscape keeps evolving in terms of providing tools and platforms for connected end-user products. An IoT software engineer develops software based on collected data, deep research and proper technology that can analyze and monitor IoT devices and systems. Whilst, the IoT architect provides solutions integrating all the layers of IoT stack including components such as software, hardware, wireless networks and security domains.
The changes in the field of IoT along with the opportunities it provides have set new trends in the upcoming IoT-based product development market in terms of integrations with other new-age technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality or augmented reality (VR/AR), and 5G networks.
Artificial intelligenceAI will be greatly used within retail and supply chain industries alongside machine learning and data analysis to understand the pattern of purchase in developing personalized experiences for the online end-user. Customer support can be provided 24/7 by implementing AI-powered chatbots.
The global AI-enabled products in the IoT market will reach up to $18.2 billion in 2025 with a CAGR of 26% from 2020 to 2025.
Virtual or augmented reality
Virtual reality, as the name implies, is used for playing games, exploring virtual travel destinations, or seeking human interactions while having the luxury of staying at home. In the future, conferences or meetings can be conducted in VR with the help of this technology. All VR products will have to integrate with IoT sensors and wireless technologies to give a seamless user experience.
The Internet has evolved gradually through various generations raging from 2G to the latest 5G. The 5G network provides much stable connectivity with higher bandwidth which enables uploading and downloading at a greater speed to the previous generations. 5G can enable connections from millions of IoT devices in a small geographical area which is not possible today due to bandwidth limitations.
Impact of COVID in Different Industries
COVID has resulted into a tremendous increase in the CAGR of IoT adoption across different sectors.
- Industrial IoT (IIoT) 10.41% PRNewswire - Healthcare 21% Markets & Markets
Impact on Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
Greater opportunity for IIoT to showcase its potential in lessening the burden of the challenging times
The abrupt discontinuation of the supplies resulted in a chain reaction and halted the production units all over the world. Subsequently, the global manufacturing output declined by 11.1% in the second quarter of 2020 due to lockdown restrictions across the map. The worst affected was Europe that was already struggling with the pressures of Brexit. All major OEMs in the continent had to shut their production networks that resulted in a terrible breakdown of the value chains. Despite relaxation in a few regions, physical distancing had slowed the processes thereby affecting the throughput.
To pull the industrial processes out from the COVID glitches, enterprises have to embrace smarter processes in their mission to reach the next normal. This outlines 3 major focus areas for them – Return, Recover and Reinvent.
Industrial IoT (IIoT) can elevate the enterprises throughout the mission cycle, recover the losses and attain expected normalcy. IIoT works because -
- It ensures lessened dependency on human interaction and allows the staff on the floor to work remotely.
- It backs rapid manufacturing through automation and quicker time-to-market
- There is no need to build in-house full-stack IoT products as ready-to-deploy connectivity solutions are available for all markets.
The following IIoT products will be extensively used to achieve a rapid deployment mission.
Remote asset control
Monitoring the industrial assets remotely is a simple yet valuable IIoT application in the given scenario. Since enterprises want to be ready for any other public health intervention restricting everyone away from production, digitization of processes through connected systems is the best choice in hand. It involves connecting the machinery OEM with apps in the cloud that can stream, store and analyze data in real-time. Staff members can thus access the insights on the personal devices remotely.
Improved Inventory managementWith COVID-19 disrupting both supply chains and customer demand, managing liquidity is crucial for industrial companies. IIoT can help in three areas.
Use cases can help industrial companies reduce inventory. For instance, sensors can monitor container-fill levels at a single site using ultrasound. Other applications can track the flow of materials over long distances by using geotags in combination with integrated mobile communication.
This real-time transparency allows the logistics team to manage the material flow more accurately and order raw materials and other inputs closer to the date they are needed, reducing inventory. Although results vary by industry and company, IIoT can help reduce overall inventory levels by up to 36 percent.
IIoT applications work closely with ERP systems. An interactive dashboard with KPIs can support shop-floor dialogs and ensure transparency. With consistent tracking of upgrades and other activities, the tools provide instant alerts on mobiles for those in charge and working remotely. Moreover, quality throughput and labor productivity can be increased by up to 40%.
Remote assistance will be important in post COVID era. The systems can help manufacturing units save up to 20%-40% in equipment servicing costs and in-person visits. These gains will be more significant for OEMs with large production capacities.
Real-time procurement transparency
Using real-time actionable insights on inventory, IIoT systems can help enterprises rewrite their procurement workflows. This will provide instantaneous feeds about the quantities to be ordered, contract negotiations and purchase order processing. Since COVID has reduced the commodity prices (Oil and Copper down by 20-25%), optimized negotiations and vendor allocations can help cut down on cost by 2%.
Impact of Covid in Healthcare
The healthcare industry has gained a lot of attention now. IoT devices have been very helpful in providing new opportunities in healthcare to monitor patients. This field has undergone so many changes over the years. As per the current scenario, the healthcare industry has adopted wearable technology that proves to be very beneficial in providing effective treatments. Companies like Ioterra have been partnering up with other companies in developing medical products that would be crucial for the fight against Covid-19.
The IoT in healthcare is forecasted to reach up to $89.6 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 11.6% from 2020 to 2026.
New applications in the healthcare sector:
Remote patient monitoring is now the most commonly used technology. This collects patient information such as heart rate, blood sugar level, pressure and temperature and then passes on this information to an application where the physician can monitor the patient without being physically present.
Security concerns become the biggest issue while using technology as if it contains sensitive information about the patient.
Heart-rates are not always stable. So monitoring it is a tedious task and needs keen attention. For patients who are in healthcare facilities, wires will be attached to their bodies that connect to a machine to monitor the heart-rate. This makes the patient unable to move.
The IoT device for heart-rate monitoring is very compact and accurate and enables patients to move around freely while also monitoring the heart-rate constantly.
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