Predictions: IoT Adoption Will Continue to Increase in 2021 | RFID JOURNAL – RFID Journal

Dec 27, 2020The global challenges that businesses experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic left many scrambling to try and connect their workforce to work from home to ensure operations continued as facilities were required to reduce capacity. Many holes and weaknesses in our supply chains were revealed and businesses have been forced to accelerate their adoption of technology or risk falling further behind or even shutting down.

To help address these challenges, businesses, especially in manufacturing, critical infrastructure and healthcare, have accelerated their use of IoT devices, and I feel that these trends will continue throughout 2021 and the years after in three main areas.

Innovative Solutions for Contact TracingBusinesses have learned to operate fully remote or at limited capacity to help protect workers. As offices reopen, many will continue to limit capacity to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. Since we've learned to work with much of the workforce out of the office, many businesses have decided that they will continue to keep many of their employees remote and some with a hybrid workstyle, depending on their role.

To help keep workers in the office safe, businesses have been looking for and adopting tools that can help them better track workers' movements throughout the office, as well as facilitate contact tracing in the event that an employee or guest tests positive for the coronavirus. One of the primary challenges is identifying tools that don't infringe on an individual's privacy, while still accurately tracking movements and contacts, as solutions that rely on an individual recalling or recording these details themselves are much less effective.

IoT devices can be part of the solution for producing accurate and consistent data that is needed as the foundation for an effective contact-tracing solution. Tracking the locations of employees with wearable devices as they move around the office is one potential method. Organizations will look to innovative companies that can provide the technology and the means to deploy the solutions that deliver the outcomes they need to safely reopen.

Improving Productivity and EfficiencyOperations and supply chains were suddenly halted when the pandemic hit. Companies that were already looking for solutions that would help them reduce cost and improve operations to increase efficiency are now doubling down on their digital transformation to help them make up for lost productivity. They're also looking for technology that helps ensure that they're able to continue to operate should there be additional circumstances that would require them to shut down.

Instrumenting high-risk environments like mines and oil and gas drilling operations can help increase the safety of some workers and allow them to work remotely or from an office instead of in a more dangerous environment. Deploying devices in manufacturing can also help to ensure that business can remain productive should some workers need to work remotely. The data generated from all of these new IoT devices and automated processes will help businesses gain new insights into their operation so that they can further innovate and improve efficiency.

IoT in Health CareHealth care has been one of the hardest hit and transformed industries during the pandemic. Technologies that doctors and other medical personnel rarely used had to be quickly adopted to increase the safety of operations for providers and patients during this time. Contact restrictions resulted in the rapid expansion of telehealth options so that patients and physicians could receive and provide care from the safety of their homes. There's also been an expansion in IoT devices in-hospital and wearables for patients to utilize at home so that medical staff can monitor their patients from anywhere.

Now that many of these tools have been successfully adopted, the health-care industry will increasingly use them so that more people than ever before can receive health care. The convenience for patients, as well as providers, will continue this trend, helping to keep more low-risk patients out of hospital beds, and thereby freeing space and expanding health care to more remote areas.

Businesses across all industries are accelerating their adoption of IoT devices as they look to update their business processes to increase productivity and efficiency to meet the changing environment caused by the pandemic. The rapid implementation will continue in 2021 as businesses look to automate, keep employees safe and improve upon some of the new benefits revealed by the adoption of new technologies. The IoT will help to transform a variety of industries with automation, and new insights from the data devices produce will help businesses improve and create new and innovative ways of conducting business.

As an Internet of Things solutions architect at Atos North America, Brian Russell partners with clients to identify and achieve business outcomes of greater efficiency and potentially new revenue streams through the innovative use of technology. Brian has more than 27 years of experience with architecture, implementation and support within mission-critical environments and now focuses on achieving outcomes for customers leveraging the IoT. He is responsible for providing technical solutions using the latest connected products and offerings that enable the client's digital transformation, as well as contributing to the development of Atos's service portfolio by identifying new IoT-related offerings and products.

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Predictions: IoT Adoption Will Continue to Increase in 2021 | RFID JOURNAL - RFID Journal

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