Role Of IoT Post COVID-19: How It Helps Businesses To Resume And Restart?
The whole world is gripped by the corona pandemic. Within days, the virus has managed to disrupt the entire supply chain, manufacturing, businesses, and required people to maintain social distancing and self-isolation to limit the virus spread.
The topic is dominating every conversation across the globe. This uncertain time has also realized a need for radical shifts in workflows and restructuring of business models, not for months, perhaps years.
Ban on travel and public gathering affecting operations, processes, and activities for every sector/industry vertical, causing a once-in-a-generation crisis. In such times, the whole attention goes to technology as we are almost dependent on technologies from communication to shopping to treatment and to work remotely.
It’s time to realize the true potential of Industry 4.0. Before this pandemic, Industry 4.0 was one of the hottest topics and led many industries to implement a ‘smart’ environment across the manufacturing plants, factories, and processes.
Industry 4.0 refers to the use of automation and intelligence in manufacturing processes and involves technologies like:
- IoT (Internet of Things)
- IIoT (Industrial IoT)
- Cloud Computing
- Artificial Intelligence
- Big Data
It is known as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and it focuses on more optimized, smarter, and automated processes.
How COVID-19 Is Accelerating Industry 4.0?
Moving forward, industries may face the greatest challenges including shortage of labor, transportation problems, a constant fear of spread among workers, and a financial crisis.
Current Pain Points Of The Industry:
- The supply chain is hugely affected due to global lockdown and closed factories. For better tomorrow, manufacturers and logistic companies must come up with a wise plan to bridge the widened demand-supply gap.
- Even after everything will back to the normal, uncertain economic environment, an unbalanced market, and ‘social distancing’ norms will change behavior, consumption, and trends post COVID-19.
- China remains at the center of manufacturing and assembling processes. International trade and services will see drastic changes as COVID-19 has negatively affected the global supply chain.
- Smart equipment and smart factories are need of the hour but human intervention is necessary for fully functional, uninterrupted production. Nevertheless, it reduces human staff by half without downscaling production as processes are automated.
- At present, people must follow the physical distance of at least six feet to curb the infection, and therefore, factories or companies must strategically handle human resources to mitigate the risks.
Like from physical to digital became indispensable in the past, COVID-19 has given one more reason to adopt Industry 4.0 and smart workflow to handle to prepare for the future.
How IoT Helps In Business Continuity And Mitigate Risks Post COVID-19?
Manufacturers, product owners, or any supply chain business with industry 4.0 capabilities can conduct business processes with fewer constraints compared to those who haven’t implemented smart machines or equipment in their workplaces.
- Remote Collaboration:
The majority of the IT companies are working from home now. On the other side, the manufacturing industry is still lagging in implementing automated, data-driven control systems.
More digitized the processes are, less physical interaction is needed.
By integrating smart and data-driven technologies into the production & administration environment, manufacturers can monitor business processes from anywhere/with less manpower. As the supply chain is disrupted and short-term business plans will no longer work, the first important thing for manufacturers is survival.
The use of real-time data, constant collaboration with partners, distributors, and managers is vital. Updates on supply chains help manufacturers identify upcoming trends and risks so that they can take collective steps to handle the crisis effectively.
- Smart Manufacturing Environment:
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) helps organizations increase productivity and bring transparency across the channels using interconnected, intelligent, and safe devices.
Industry 4.0 provides an integrated approach to everything by implementing the following:
- Remote-monitoring of equipment, machinery, and production setup
- Vision-based control systems to control equipment based on certain measures
- Video-conferencing for effective and real-time collaboration
- Workforce-tracking to ensure employee well-being and monitor activities
- Machine-Learning software to intelligently perform automated tasks
- Data-driven equipment control to analyze and take certain actions based on measures
- IoT-enabled sensors and devices to offer a holistic view of processes
IIoT tools help companies observe 360-degree-view of their operations, demands, and supply while constantly check for threats and risks. This, in turn, enables manufacturers to continue operations, even in such times where physical-distance principles are in place and the economy is shrinking.
IIoT-enabled inventory management, remote assistance, and digital workforce help improve overall performance, decision-making, and strategy post-crisis.
- AR/VR For Better Visualization:
Continuing with the new normal, i.e, social distancing, and self-isolation, manufacturers have to use more digital options to conduct business operations. Adopting AR/VR technologies in the production environment help personnel in training, perform any maintenance activity remotely, or analyze problems effectively. Half of the workforce required to work from home and hence, the adoption of immersive technologies like AR/VR should be considered strategically important for better understanding.
- Remote Health Monitoring/Telehealth:
Specialists or health professionals are maximizing the use of technology to remotely deliver healthcare for patients, without even requiring patients to visit doctor in-person. By using telecommunication technologies, wearable devices, and healthcare IoT devices, doctors can remotely inspect, diagnose, and deliver better care for the patients. Telehealth uses advanced technologies and covers a wide range of health-related services that include education, treatment, monitoring, care, advice, remote admission, study, and so on.
- IoT To Ensure Business Continuity And Flexibility Amid This Crisis:
It is exaggerated to say that the industry is ready for complete automation. It is quite impossible. Data and connected environments are helping organizations to shift to this automated model of work, ensuring employee safety, continuity, and flexibility.
Every business is affected and in such times, back to normal phase would require plan and patience. Consumer-habits, interests, delivery, and production — everything will be changed post-COVID-19. No-touch delivery, physical distance, and WFH workforce are new norms every organization must follow.
COVID-19 has made everyone rethink their business strategies and demonstrated the potential of the digital, connected world to run businesses smoothly. Crisis-readiness now become an imperative aspect for most businesses across the world.
Industry 4.0 will help achieve business goals, enabling businesses to run without any hassle.
IoT simply means more digitization of the processes.
This results in reduced cost, increased speed-to-market of products, and fewer human hours. Organizations, at present, have to reschedule timing, arrange shifts rather than working all at once, and maintain physical distancing. By combining data, intelligence, and insights, IoT (Internet of Things) will be a boon for many businesses, especially manufacturing and healthcare.
Are you ready to reopen?
What is your strategy?
What are the technologies you already used?
Are you planning to upgrade your technology stack?
What are your thoughts?
Let us know via the comments below. Let’s take the help of technology to make a fresh start with new plans, new growth strategies, and new tech stack.
Note: This post was previously published on SPEC INDIA’s blog