IoT during COVID-19: Winners and losers

One thing that is true about the current business climate is that it has changed radically due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result of these pandemic-driven influences, there are domains where IoT is providing significant value and business is thriving. Likewise, there are some IoT domains that have been stymied in the new pandemic world.

Besides the clear impact on company revenue streams, the way business is conducted is very different from the pre-COVID world. As companies continue to work-from-home, business processes are either flourishing or diminishing as a result of the new normal. Let’s examine some of the winners and losers in the post-pandemic IoT market.

The winners

Retail, logistics and healthcare are booming in the new COVID-19 world. Retail companies are providing daily essentials that have a solid online presence and efficient, rapid order fulfillment. Logistics industries are helping facilitate the delivery of essential and non-essential goods in the absence or reduced availability of in-person shopping. Medical providers are continuing to offer sophisticated products down to cheap consumables relevant to virus protection and healthcare management

Here are some of the IoT products and product development activities that are thriving:

  • Breathing assistance devices have become crucial. At the low end, there are manual breathing devices that have been automated. At the high end, there are ventilators enabled with smart, connected features. Looking ahead, there will be a new class of products coming along that will fill the gap between the low-end, commodity manual breathing apparatus devices and the high-end products already in the market.
  • With the recent emphasis on contactless shopping, the use of existing web-based tools for order capturing and processing has been well established. In addition, there has been an explosion of new IoT services filling the gap and supplementing overloaded systems for order fulfillment.
  • The challenge of having patients meet with their healthcare providers has led to renewed investment in remote medical care. While some products have already existed to help with remote care, there has been a rapid expansion in the development of IoT-enabled sensors for home and remote facility use, as well as the development of IoT-enabled means for enhancing the experience of telemedicine.
  • There has been a boom in the development of products to help with air purification. Early stage production efforts have included UV sterilization and HEPA filtration. While these products are not typically being deployed with IoT technology, they will inevitably have maintenance and monitoring needs. Expect to see the integration IoT sensors to help improve communication and edge or server-based analytics as well as effectiveness and messaging to drive routine and preventive maintenance.

The losers

In the thick of the pandemic, there has been an increased focus on the products and technologies related to safety and healthcare needs. As such, some of the more discretionary uses of IoT in the consumer space aren’t receiving as much attention. Likewise, with the hospitality and transportation markets in crisis mode, there’s less IoT-enabled development going on in those industries.

While all eyes are now watching and waiting for what will happen in the coming months, it seems that hospitality and transportation should see a gradual return, though it could be a long haul. IoT can be of help in some ways with monitoring and communicating parameters related to guest health, lodging and other measurable conditions. The current situation is a bit like chicken and the egg. Until there is a clear upward path to these businesses resuming profitable operation, expect there to be less investment into new IoT technology. Once businesses show clear improvement, there will likely be renewed interest in these currently depressed industries.

To quote Sun Tzu from his seminal 5th century B.C. treatise, The Art of War, “In chaos there is opportunity.” IoT offers the possibility for better health outcomes, improved services and even possible aides to the resurgence of hospitality and transportation. There is tremendous opportunity for those looking at the current health crisis and finding new ways to move forward.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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