The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most pre-eminent tech trends to have arisen in recent times. In simple words, it indicates to the fact that while the term “internet” originally refers to the wide-scale networking of computers, devices of every size and shape – from automobiles to kitchenette devices to industrial tools - are connected and sharing information digitally on a global range.
As with each phase of our lives, the Covid-19 pandemic has unquestionably hit the way this trend is growing and impacting our lives. In a realm where contact between humans is, for now, more limited, the connection between devices, tools, and toys can help us to remain associated.
Here’s a look ahead to 2021 and some of the ways we can expect to see this megatrend playing out, and playing a prominent recurring role in how we live, work, and play.
1. IoT In Healthcare
From telemedicine to smart home help for the aged and disabled, automated wearables, sensors, and connected devices will remain to change the way healthcare is delivered. It will also be used to lessen avoidable contact in circumstances where the risk of viral infection is unusually high, for instance, care shelters and communicable disease wards within hospitals.
As a comprehensive illustration of how the continuing pandemic has quickened the choice of tech-driven healthcare transition, original calculations for the number of "virtual visits" or online appointments with healthcare providers in the US was 36 million.
In reality, that estimate is now on track to be resembling till one billion. This trend will assuredly extend during 2021 now that infrastructure and patient perception of the benefits are in position.
Substantial growth has also been seen in the market for accessories that will empower the aged to reside independently in their residences for more prolonged. This will include devices with AI to track falls or switches to everyday routines that could warn family members or their healthcare providers whenever intervention is required.
Readjusting to the hurdles posed by Covid-19, this equivalent technology can be used to decide if there is a speedy decline in the health of people who may be quarantined at home, as the virus can frequently put people in a situation where they are helpless to seek help by themselves, in a matter of minutes.
2. IoT - More Productive WFH
Work-from-home(WFH) is the latest normal for many of us in the information economy in current times due to safety concerns encompassing massive numbers of people gathering in offices and city centers. With AI-powered personal assistants like Alexa now placed in many of our homes, we can expect more devices designed to aid us in operating our day while working remotely. This will involve more intelligent computerized scheduling and calendar tools, better quality, interactive video conferencing, and virtual meeting technology.
Microsoft's Virtual Stage platform, for example, uses its Azure Kinect sensors to enable immersive, AI-powered presentations that will keep us better engaged.
3. IoT In Retail Sector
Bricks ‘n’ mortar retail industry has assuredly been banged vigorously by the Covid-19 pandemic. As we noticed in the initial times of this crisis, several non-essential stores were tentatively shut down with insignificant disturbance to our lives – thanks to online retail evolution. However, stores supplying essentials like food and medicine have to remain open to serve the basic needs of local populations.
Overhead the following year, we can foresee a new direction for innovative models such as Amazon's fully-automated supermarkets that cut down on the need for non-vital human interaction as we stock our homes with food and other essentials.
Automation through IoT-enabled devices will also continue to grow in the extensive fulfillment centers that dispatch inventory to stores. Contact-free payment systems will also grow frequently prevailing as we progress further towards the “cashless society” that has been foretold to arrive for some time soon, inducing its own hurdles.
Other developments in retail will entail the use of RFID tags to track the movement of customers around stores. As earlier, this will be used to make choices over stock deployment and foodstuff by registering how and when patrons interact with displays and products on the racks. In light of this year's transitions to society, now it will also frequently be used to barge social distancing and defend against the threat of congestion in bustling lots of shops, supermarkets, and Marketplaces.
4. IoT In Smart City
The "smart city" notion has been rising in demand over current times; with IoT technology, we can monitor traffic on road networks, use public transport, footfall around pedestrianized areas, and use civic amenities such as recycling centers and refuse collection. Automated meters record the use of energy in homes and businesses, so stock can be balanced to meet demands during peaks and avoid wastage where it isn't needed.
Throughout the subsequent year, we can foresee a wave of resources going into developing digital capabilities within local authorities to enable them to use new technologies that are becoming available adequately. This will be vital when it comes to dealing with the difficulties of a changing society. With safety issues encompassing public transportation, city-center buildings, and recreational facilities such as recreation centers and parks, IoT technology will empower governments and businesses to understand patterns of usage better so they can plan safety measures and emergency response tactics more efficiently.
5. IoT At The Edge
Finally, edge computing is another powerful trend that isn’t going to go away due to Covid-19. As with the different trends mentioned here, the change that it facilitates will become more relevant than ever, most likely leading to an elevated speed of adoption and rate of innovation.
With edge computing, rather than IoT devices sending all of the data they collect to the cloud to analyze and extract insights, this work is carried out directly on the devices themselves. One obvious benefit is extensive savings in bandwidth usage and the discounted cost, both financially and environmentally, that this brings.
Nevertheless, just as indispensable in a post-Covid world will be the advantages to privacy and data maintenance. Several proactive and reactive actions, such as outbreak detection and contact-tracing, rely on highly personal data such as health or location data. New processing methods and taking action on this data will leverage edge computing techniques to lessen the risk posed by sending this information backward and forwards between personal devices and cloud servers. This could prove to be vital for building public trust in these measures – something that requires to be done if they are to be powerfully deployed at scale.
The IoT developments will never slow down anytime soon, but the faster your organization grows and implements a strategy, the more reliable your future will be.