How will IoT help us with COVID-19 when we return to the office?
Without exaggeration, I consider IoT as one of the fastest growing and developing ICT technologies today. The whole area of the Internet of Things has enormous potential for all involved, whether we are talking about products and suppliers, service providers, partners or implementers or end customers.
After the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the world turned completely upside down within a few weeks. The consequences of COVID-19 have spread across all aspects of professional and personal life. As the government enforced strict guidelines and bans to protect its citizens, many companies and enterprises had to take special measures for safety and hygiene in the work environment. However, the responsibility does not end. What might it look like? And how IoT might play a key role when we return to the office?
Some companies are already considering the introduction of new technologies to monitor and supervise employees. It shouldn't just be a non-contact temperature measurement with a scanner on arrival at work but also, for example, mobile apps that run in the background on employee's phones with the help of Bluetooth and Wifi signals to measure proximity.
Also, in my field of expertise, LPWAN (and more specifically LoRaWAN®), companies used their innovative mindset and skills to create unique IoT solutions to fight the pandemic.
There are likely to be other applications that run at the enterprise level. This could work so that when an employee reports a positive test for COVID-19, authorized executives can quickly identify and inform all colleagues with whom the employee has come in contact to avoid a wider outbreak. These apps should alert employees that another employee is approaching them. Is this what “smart quarantine” looks like?
It may help. There are a lot of interesting ways we can use data and sensors to ensure that occupancy rates stay below 50% or that employees stay 6 feet(1.5 to 2 mt) apart from one another. There are literally dozens of other examples of technology being adapted for the new office reality post-COVID-19, but so far none of them address the need for new processes on the part of employers. And I agree, as is stated in this article by Stacey Higginbotham : “For that, we need managers who understand what the business is trying to accomplish with its measures and who has the power to enforce them. For example, does your business want to push social distancing? Prevent sick people from coming to work? Does it need a way to notify other employees if someone gets a positive diagnosis? “
So, I think IoT will definitely help, but also the mindset of the managers and the people in charge need to change. I have seen way too many people coming to the office even though they were sick with a cold or flu, just because they felt obligated to.
Do you have any IoT solutions installed in your office or workplace?