With the UK going into its first financial recession since 2009 as a consequence of COVID-19, many businesses are struggling to stay alive in the current business climate.
Without the right technology and continuity processes in place, organisations were unable to adapt their models quickly enough to survive when they needed to. Now it’s a wake-up call to get the right solutions implemented to ride the waves of any future economic storms that come along.
Nick Sacke, head of IoT and products at Comms365 discusses how IoT and the use of data can boost and support industries and the wider economy to unlock more efficient and sustainable production cycles, and offer greater insights into product value and optimisation to help businesses to survive in the short term and thrive in the future.
With the increase in the volume of data that is being produced, identifying, analysing and using the useful information that is scattered around an organisation is a key business challenge, but also an opportunity. This can be addressed by the optimal use of data, deploying innovative IoT technologies including sensors, and targeted insights from ‘Big Data’ analytics systems.
IoT, smart sensors and connected technologies are starting to play a key role in providing valuable data for effective decision making across all industries. Improving products and processes through data collection and analysis is necessary for companies to future-proof their businesses in a highly volatile global market and identify additional revenue streams.
Elements that have had a significant impact on the economy are the need for social distancing measures and other safety elements that have had to be implemented. Particularly for industries such as manufacturing, retail and logistics, with fewer staff, organisations faced significant challenges to meet demand. But this is where IoT is playing a vital role, especially once employees start to return to their work environments.
The use of IoT can support sanitisation measures and automation of shared touchpoints needed to limit cross-contamination. For example, monitoring the distance between people via infrared beams, alerting when social distancing thresholds are crossed, and analysing movement around working spaces with thermal imaging camera systems.
By deploying these technologies, businesses can operate safely and more productively while generating revenue to remain operational and ultimately, boost the economy.
Circular economy approach
By taking a circular economy approach, organisations can reduce waste, extract the most value and obtain cost savings by optimising their use of resources.
Through the collection and analysis of data, digital technology such as interconnected devices, have the potential to outline the key areas of waste of resources and inform more effective decision-making on how to address these issues as they occur.
By capitalising on innovation which will underpin sustained growth, businesses can benefit from a rise of new economic opportunities, such as substantial saving and mitigation of supply risks, while ensuring that assets are used to their maximum potential and value.
Moreover, by having visual insight into the location, condition and availability of each asset, this overview is of value to businesses to enhance their productivity through factors such as predictive maintenance. Overall, this helps to make products and services more effective and efficient, while reducing costs and waste in the supply chain.
5G and connectivity
In a pandemic when social distancing measures are in place, and workforces are remote, it’s vital for businesses to have a robust, high quality Internet connection and IoT connected device. This will provide visibility on-site and remote access as required, resulting in reducing the need for engineers and IT teams to make unnecessary and potentially risky site visits.
The deployment of 5G will help to increase network capacity and data flow; supporting connections of one million devices per square kilometre. By supercharging the potential of IoT with new 5G networks, connected buildings, vehicles and transport infrastructure could all benefit from the value this enhanced connectivity will bring.
Smart buildings are the future, and post-COVID-19, can help to boost the economy by reducing the costs of running the public sector estate, such as the introduction of smart lighting and optimising the use of air conditioning.
If businesses were to embrace innovative technology and use the data they collect and store in the right way, the ‘new normal’ post-COVID-19 may be a smoother transition for many. By leveraging the most value from their data and resources, as well as the management and more efficient use of resources to meet green agenda objectives, organisations can help to keep their running costs low, which is particularly important during uncertain times.
This preparation, in turn, will help businesses to ride the waves of uncertainty and keep them trading to ultimately boost the economy in both the short and long-term.
The author is Nick Sacke, head of IoT and products, Comms365.