The COVID-19 lockdown is easing, businesses are opening, and the world is slowly returning to normal. We’re in the middle of the big back-to-work shift—and much like during the lockdown itself, connectivity and IoT will play a pivotal role in bringing the nation back to life.
Read on for the top IoT and connectivity solutions that are empowering businesses in the post-lockdown environment.
Back-to-work IoT solutions
When it comes to tech, IoT solutions are unmatched at boosting efficiencies, reducing costs, and enabling services that would otherwise be impossible; in other words, exactly what’s needed in a post-lockdown society.
Here are a handful that open up revenue streams that would otherwise be in danger of closing, while keeping both employees and patrons safe.
Temperature scanners are allowing hospitals, airports, shops, and the like to gauge visitors for fever, one of COVID19’s tell-tale symptoms. The range on the handheld scanners is enough that users can scan visitors from a safe distance, without putting themselves at risk; alternatively, they can be installed at access points to scan people on entry. This tech can be combined with AI and facial recognition software to ensure that visitors don’t return to the premises before it’s safe to do so.
Shops, pubs, and other such venues need to adhere to strict capacity limits right now in order to open up and stay open. But the annual cost of employing someone to manually monitor traffic, with their eyes and a clipboard—for two shifts a day—is £36k; steep, just to stay open.
Luckily, the cost can be mitigated with crowd-tracking IoT solutions. Installed at key access points much like the temperature monitors, these allow businesses to monitor foot traffic through motion-detecting sensors, control visitor numbers via automatic capacity alerts, keep people and employees a safe distance from each other with proximity monitors, and more. Typically, these solutions reduce costs by 50% in the year they’re acquired; then by a whopping 90% in the years following.
It goes without saying that physical contact must be as limited as possible; many people already refuse to handle cash, due to its nature as a vehicle for the spread of viruses. So for businesses that need to conduct on-site transactions, ePOS technology for contactless payments is a priority—though it sounds simple, it’s allowing many businesses to continue trading safely. Without it, businesses will find their customer base taking their patronage to less germy competitors; which makes providing ePOS (and the all-important 4G backup) for retailers a sure win and lucrative opportunity for Channel players.
Robots and drones
In Dr Arslan’s last post, he touched on some of the functions of frontline robots during the pandemic.
Today, their role has expanded—robots are being used to deliver food from supermarkets straight to customers’ homes, which is especially handy in a time where eCommerce is booming. Drones are equally useful, being used to transport healthcare supplies to professionals, to monitor big gatherings, and disinfecting public places and vehicles.
Of course, connectivity is the key ingredient in powering any of these IoT solutions to work; something that businesses can’t afford to neglect.
Business-critical connectivity solutions
If there was any doubt that solid connectivity was business-critical, it’s been erased by the last few months. Connectivity hasn’t just kept the nation sane while stuck at home; it’s fed into the economy and kept the ball rolling for many businesses through the pandemic—and will continue to do so, since we’re not quite out of the woods yet.
Plenty are still working remotely, and expect to keep doing so in the months to come. In fact, it’s estimated 25-30% of the world’s workforce will be working from home, at least part of the week, by 2021.
Not to mention—for the world to go back to work, parents need to know that their kids, who are staying at home, can connect to the resources they need to receive a strong education. With one London teacher revealing to the BBC that only 24% of his school’s students are equipped for online study from home, there’s a clear need for reliable home connectivity.
Top back-to-work connectivity options include:
Unsteered Multi-network 4G
Multi-network 4G gives businesses the dedicated bandwidth they need to support their homeworkers, especially when it comes to applications that need static IPs, like hosted voice. There was a spike in demand when the lockdown began back in March; and it’s likely we’ll see another one as the workforce moves from furlough to working remotely.
Managed, intelligent connectivity
The pandemic has brought on a period of economic uncertainty, which means right now, businesses will be under pressure to secure their finances. Fully managed data SIMs that offer total control through real time usage stats, and intelligent, self-optimising tariffs will protect against damaging overages, at a time when unexpected costs are at their most dangerous.
Pre-Ethernet and 4G backup
It’s a widely known fact that the pandemic caused a workforce reduction and access issues for broadband and fibre installations. Though lockdown restrictions are being eased, fixed-line delays are still on the horizon; which makes it prime time for pre-Ethernet solutions, which get businesses connected within a day of placing an order, and then continue to work as a cost-effective 4G backup following the eventual broadband installation.
In the same vein as Pre-Ethernet for business, home Mi-Fis are every parent’s solution to fixed-line issues and reduced broadband SLAs amid the lockdown. They’re unbeatable when it comes to staying connected while sharing bandwidth with the rest of the family at home, and in keeping kids connected to their online education while you’re away at work.
Are you ready for the back-to-work shift?
The lists above aren’t exhaustive; they’re just a few of the ways IoT and connectivity continue to make a difference. For Channel players—these are the tools that your customers need to see success right now and in the times ahead.
If you want to make sure you’re connected and prepared for the back-to-work shift, or you’ve got questions about gearing up for the new normal with IoT solutions, feel free to give us a call.Contact us