How Will COVID-19 Impact Industrial Analytics and IoT?

Megan Nichols
How Will COVID-19 Impact Industrial Analytics and IoT_
Illustration: © IoT For All

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the world. As many states, countries, and regions prepare to lift lockdowns and reopen businesses, the way forward requires using technologies in different ways. Industrial analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, in particular, have the abundant potential for helping companies explore this new normal. Read on for some compelling examples.

It May Inspire Companies to Examine Their Workforce Weaknesses

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed many people to work from home for the first time. It also means that human resources representatives have to carefully examine workforce gaps that could hinder productivity if not addressed.

For example, if a person has symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19, they need to self-isolate for at least two weeks. What happens if several people from a sparsely staffed department develop the virus around the same time? A company could find itself facing a sudden workforce shortage.

Another issue could occur if an enterprise’s data shows a large percentage of workers primarily use public transit, but authorities temporarily stop running their routes. Besides using corporate information to tackle issues, businesses can depend on smart analytics when planning how to reopen. Which areas of the company require immediate changes to keep people safe? What new processes do employees most often request?

Many companies will discover that the coronavirus pandemic illuminated issues in their workforce but did not directly cause them. As businesses determine how to operate responsibly, they can rely on compiled data to show where there is room for improvement and identify any instances of progress.

It Could Cause Organizations to Use Cameras in New Ways

Many companies already use cameras to keep their premises secure and deter theft attempts. Some are also depending on them to ensure that workers comply with COVID-19-related measures. The options on the market often include artificial intelligence (AI) and let people view live feeds from internet-enabled devices.

Transportation officials in Paris launched a three-month trial of mask-detection software on public transit. The solution does not store data or use it to punish riders. It gives monitoring personnel a percentage of overall people classified as wearing face coverings. The results could provide public health officials with an idea of how many are compliant.

Some IoT solutions function as people counters. They track how many individuals enter a space and alert users when the number meets or surpasses a set limit. These advancements could assist with keeping occupancy numbers at manageable levels, enabling enterprises to prove they are doing all required to abide by distancing requirements and maintain safety.

It Will Help Enterprises Use Analytics to Explore Actions

Analytics products for business use are crucial for giving companies complete visibility into what happens inside their premises, even when operating with reduced staff numbers. For example, implementing a solution that shows virtual analytics for an essential system lets technicians keep tabs on characteristics like flow rate and vibration while maintaining social distancing requirements.

Studying the data from a specialized industrial platform makes it easier for enterprises to determine when to send on-site crews to tackle immediate emergencies. They can assess how the circumstances progress from a distance first before increasing staffing numbers.

Industrial analytics could also aid some of the hardest-hit industries in reopening during the coronavirus pandemic. One offering for the food and beverage sector pivoted to focusing on the meatpacking industry after recognizing a need for more smart analytics applications. The data assists companies with screening workers and visitors, staying on top of sanitation needs and abiding by other essential practices to operate safely.

Having access to reliable data promotes actionable strategies. Company leaders can depend on intelligent analytics tools to drive their choices instead of making educated guesses about where problem areas exist.

It Should Give Companies More Ways to Meet Needs

The companies that are the best equipped to succeed in the post-COVID-19 era will likely be those that explore how the IoT and analytics platforms let them address known challenges. For example, many people who shop for groceries have to wait in long lines before entering stores.

A supermarket brand operating in the United Kingdom introduced a “virtual queue” system. People register for places in line and go back to wait in their cars before receiving entrance notifications on their phones. The company made this change after its leaders expected social distancing measures to last through at least 2020.

Another situation might emerge if employees say the temperature checks required by their companies necessitate arriving to work at least 30 minutes early. In that case, organizations may purchase new IoT thermal imaging cameras. These devices can take the temperatures of groups from a distance, potentially speeding up temperature checks in practical ways without compromising safety.

Industrial analytics platforms can also give enterprises real-time insights about the products or services their customers demand most. Having that data makes it easier for companies to anticipate and prevent shortages or other order fulfillment delays.

It Will Cause Businesses to Explore Connected Tools

Company representatives are also interested in how connected gadgets could expedite contact tracing by identifying those exposed to an infected person. Some wearable options emit sounds if people stand too close to each other. They also let managers backtrack and learn which colleagues worked with someone confirmed to have COVID-19.

Such products permit dependence on accurate data when performing contact tracing rather than asking people to rely solely on memory. Companies also manufacture items that support contact tracing, along with other efforts to keep people healthy. Some gadgets remind people to wash their hands when entering or leaving key areas, such as the cafeteria or restroom.

Businesses may also deploy screening apps that workers use every day before clocking in for shifts. Employees would fill out a survey indicating if they experienced any of the listed symptoms. Those that have them can receive notifications through the app to stay home or wait for further instructions. Enterprises could also get data breakdowns that offer warnings of potential increases in symptomatic workforce members.

Smart Analytics Can Keep People Safer

The options mentioned here show why there’s so much potential in the marketplace for technology to guide decisions and maintain safety. Companies should investigate the most appropriate ways to implement them for the benefit of everyone involved.

Megan Nichols
Megan Nichols
Megan Ray Nichols is a technical writer and blogger. Her work has been published on sites like Icons of Infrastructure, Industry Week, and Read Write. Keep up with Megan by subscribing to her e...
Megan Ray Nichols is a technical writer and blogger. Her work has been published on sites like Icons of Infrastructure, Industry Week, and Read Write. Keep up with Megan by subscribing to her e...