The current global scenario, caused by the pandemic, has confronted industries and companies with the need to accelerate their digital transformation plan, or even to completely reinvent the way they develop their business. Affected by successive periods of confinement, restrictions on operation and even by the closure of their facilities, they have to find alternative ways to maintain their activity, even in situations where human presence monitoring is not at all possible.

If, in the past, more efficient management of resources, processes or services was already a priority, then with the emergence of the pandemic and the economic difficulties that are expected from it, it has become even more crucial. The development of a strategic innovation plan, of investment in new technologies, which make companies more robust and resilient to possible new vacancies, is therefore at the top of the agenda. It is precisely digital transformation journey, and in particular in the adoption of IoT technologies, that many companies can be trained with a set of platforms, applications and systems, new methods and even new business models not only to face the pandemic but also to prepare for a post-pandemic market that is becoming more competitive and digital.

Industries whose characteristics are based on production, may rely on technological solutions such as Digital Twins, through the IoT,  building digital models representative of their production processes, business flows, physical objects and even complex environments. Sensors allow you to collect data in a connected and integrated way, transmitting it to centralized platforms where they are aggregated and correlated. Actuators, which can be equipped with intelligence to carry out actions in an automated way, or which can be controlled remotely, perform operations on the ground without the need for human physical presence. Machine Learning and Analytics algorithm use data previously collected, processed and stored to build models that simulate scenarios which optimize the production process, predict possible failures before they occur and even allow to identify new perspectives on the same business. The key is on the correlation of production information with business indicators. This is the true added value from IoT.

Industries relying on distribution chains can also benefit from solutions such as Asset Tracking. Through sensors, these solutions can monitor in real-time the exact location of a certain good, monitor the conditions in which it is transported as well as to have a global view of the entire chain up to stock and inventory management.

A use case, where the relevance and criticality of these types of solutions are evident, is the vaccine distribution chain for Covid-19. During this process, the temperature in which vaccines must be maintained must be strictly controlled to guarantee quality and effectiveness. In addition to being critical to temperature monitoring and control, it is also vital to monitor whether the containers where they circulate, have enough energy to regulate it and act promptly if they do not. Platforms that aggregate different sources of information, allow a global view of the entire chain, efficient stock and inventory management, as well as a centralized and real-time view of the location of each container. In the case of millions of units and being as important and decisive, as this product is, without the IoT, everything would be more complex and time-consuming, with inevitable economic and quality losses, since this is a worldwide operation of high magnitude.

The set of cases and scenarios in which the IoT brings value goes beyond the optimization of production processes. With social distance and the avoidance of physical contact that this pandemic imposed, the way people buy has suffered a digital transformation. In addition to a huge increase in online commerce, smartphones and wearables equipped with contactless technology have become much more used to make payments without any kind of physical contact.

It is widely agreed that the pandemic has impacted and still impacts the way industries and companies operate. It is also a consensus that the way people live has abruptly changed the experience at the workplace and the way people interact with companies. This is a reality that is expected to last even after the pandemic is under control.

Whenever possible, remote work will be an option, and this will bring about the need for all company systems to be properly connected and remotely accessible in a secure manner. Even in situations where remote work is not feasible or when people gradually return to the workplace, the efficient use of facilities becomes relevant. Companies have to restructure the way people are willing and moving, to maximize social distance as much as possible. Again with IoT, it is possible to collect information on the use of common spaces, identify flows and patterns of displacement of people and with this information optimize the use of meeting rooms, dining areas, living areas, open spaces, among others. Monitoring air quality in these enclosed spaces has become crucial. Sensors arranged in the spaces can collect data that allow analyzing if they are being well ventilated. Machine Learning algorithms can predict in advance whether the maintenance of air conditioning systems should be triggered, such as changing air filters before they become saturated, in a preventive manner and without jeopardizing the health of employees.

In fact, in a few weeks, the pandemic forced companies to adapt at different levels, from the way they operate their business, to the way they manage their facilities and employees. I have the opinion that although light better days are coming (with the creation of the vaccine), the post-pandemic world will be significantly different from the old normal. The digital transformation and in particular the IoT was, is and will be a strong technological ally in this adaptation to the new world, with a very relevant role as an innovative and differentiating element, in what will be the most digital and competitive world that companies have ever known.

João Cruz, Head of Iot at InnoWave.

Source : Dinheiro Vivo