COVID-19 has highlighted the lack of a reliable and robust response system for a pandemic. The novel virus has influenced global economies and industries, causing significant supply and demand issues around the globe. Quarantine measures and lockdowns have disrupted supply chains and affected production severely. With the rising number of cases, quarantine measures, and efforts to contain the spread of the virus, health care systems are disrupted.
In such times of crisis and emergency, IoT can play a significant role provided it is used accurately and efficiently. Technology and innovation have always played a role in changing our lives for the better. IoT is a network of devices that use sensors, software, wireless networks, and AI to collect and share data over the internet. IoT technologies have proven to be useful in almost every industry, from manufacturing, farming to healthcare. IoT empowers organizations to automate and increase the efficiency of processes. IoT data can be used to detect patterns, make recommendations, and provide insights during outbreaks. IoT solutions can provide valuable assistance in future pandemics in the following ways
Government agencies are requesting tech companies to provide data to analyze the movement of people so as to control the spread of the virus. This data can be used to track the implementation of guidelines and analyze quarantine measures and study factors that impact the spread of the virus. The geographical and healthcare data will help policymakers in introducing reliable solutions and policies to control the virus. It can also serve in research and development processes, which will lead to improved medical treatments.
In Singapore, the government has asked citizens to download an app called TraceTogether, that uses Bluetooth technology to monitor the user and others in his proximity. It warns the user if they are near someone who might have the virus. Such apps provide governments with useful information about the situation in the country. This data will help in government surveillance during a medical emergency but will raise concerns among users for their privacy. Lawmakers should work with government agencies and accommodate the concerns of the public, formulating legislation to protect user privacy during times of public health emergencies. For future use, such apps can be further remodeled and innovated for handling sensitive data about the public.
Healthcare is another field where IoT technology would be useful. IoT is integral for the digital transformation of the healthcare industry. Some of the essential applications of IoT during a pandemic are remote patient monitoring, inventory management, telehealth, and telemedicine.
During the global health crisis, when hospitals are crowded with infected patients, the treatment of patients suffering from chronic diseases becomes difficult. Such cases also increase the workload of the health workers and expose them to the virus. Remote patient monitoring and medical assistance will be a game-changer as it will provide better healthcare and reduce the risk of cross-infection.
IoT can also be leveraged for inventory management in emergencies to enhance drug management and ensure the availability of critical equipment. Telehealth is the use of digital knowledge and communication technologies for receiving healthcare services. Telehealth is helpful for patients suffering from mobility issues since it allows treatment of patients without an in-person visit using telecommunication technology. Plushcare is a healthcare platform that uses IoT technology to provide healthcare services to patients in the US.
In China, telecom companies have designed a system that allows remote consultation by connecting physicians at West China to hospitals treating infected patients. This approach can be used on a global level to broaden the expertise and combat the virus.
IoT can help develop connected and responsive healthcare systems to deal with outbreaks. However, it stills requires further innovation, investment, and research. IoT data can provide useful insights for policymaking in dealing with epidemics. Telecom operators can further investigate and assist manufacturing industries in dealing with the pandemic crisis. Government agencies and individual organizations should invest in crisis planning and recovery strategy to prevent significant loss of life and economic shocks from pandemics. The governments need to allocate funds for response plans and IoT projects that will help in future pandemics. IoT service providers should focus on resolving data security, accuracy, overload, and privacy issues. For further adoption of IoT technologies in healthcare, IoT functions should be aligned with global healthcare regulations.
“Singapore says its coronavirus app helps the public. Critics say it’s government surveillance,” Available at
“ZTE and China Telecom enabled the first remote diagnosis of coronavirus via a 5G telehealth system,” Available at