Editor's Letter Insights

IoT’s Place in a COVID-19 World

Written by Jeff Child

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched so many aspects of both our daily lives and the worldwide economy. We at Circuit Cellar continue to hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during these challenging times. Across the board, supply chains of electronic components as well as manufacturing facilities have all been disrupted—and that’s been impacting nearly all embedded system design firms to some degree.

 Because it’s a key area of coverage for Circuit Cellar, I’ve been especially curious about one particular area of interest: The Internet-of-Things (IoT). With that in mind, I’ve been hungry for information and analysis of the IoT in terms of the impact of COVID-19. And, perhaps not surprisingly, there are some positive trends in the mix.

 Market research firm MarketsandMarkets (MAM) (www.marketsandmarkets.com) has released a series of reports in the past couple months that look at the IoT market and several of its subsets in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Its report entitled “COVID-19 Impact on Internet of Things Market” predicts the IoT market size is expected to grow from $150 billion in 2019 to $243 billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.7% during the forecast period. The major factors driving this growth are include increasing focus on remote monitoring for the work from home initiative, growing adoption of smart payment technologies to minimize human contact involved in cash payments and rising demand for wearable devices.

 The report breaks down several major market segments that use IoT, and even those that are struggling are expected to see opportunities to leverage IoT in positive ways. The transportation industry has obviously been hit hard, with an unprecedented decline in air traffic, and the number of daily flights has reduced by over 60%. That said, the application of IoT is still opening new revenue streams by facilitating real-time tracking of vehicles and providing monitoring feeds of passengers, says the report. The monitoring feeds of passengers help in the checking of passenger travel histories to identify if the passenger needs to be quarantined. Meanwhile, companies are using drones as another mode of transportation to ensure essential supplies and food deliveries. The report cites for example Shenzhen, China-based startup Pudu Technology that’s focused on reducing cross-infection by implementing home delivery of drugs and meals via drones and robots.

 Meanwhile, the healthcare industry has become a major adopter of IoT technology, according to MAM’s report. With the rising number of chronic ailments, IoT has already found its way into the healthcare sector, with numerous applications—such as telemedicine, connected imaging, inpatient monitoring, medication management, connected health, connected worker, connected ambulance, along with many others. The outbreak of the COVID-19 has led IoT healthcare solution providers to quickly render solutions for meeting the rising demand for high-quality services for protection against the virus. And COVID-19 has touched the entire healthcare ecosystem from pharmaceutical companies, drug makers, COVID-19 vaccine developers, to health insurers and hospitals. As a result, applications such as remote patient monitoring, interactive medicine and inpatient monitoring are expected to gain more ground.

 Although North America continues to be the largest user of IoT technologies by region, the MAM report predicts that the major Asia Pacific (APAC) countries— such as China, India and Australia—will see huge IoT growth amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Certainly, the COVID-19 outbreak has slowed down the majority of the economies of those APAC countries. But technological advancements and digitization in countries such as China and India are expected to up the demand for IoT in major verticals, such as healthcare and utilities. For instance, APAC accounted for 42% of the total installed smart meters in 2018, which is expected to increase in the future for remote monitoring and accessibility of the infrastructure during the pandemic.

 As system developers craft new implementations, there’s no doubt that the key technologies serving IoT— sensors, microcontrollers, edge devices, IoT gateways and cloud services—will continue to remain critical, and Circuit Cellar will continue to keep watching them.


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Former Editor-in-Chief at Circuit Cellar | Website | + posts

Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxGizmos.com and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine 6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.

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IoT’s Place in a COVID-19 World

by Jeff Child time to read: 3 min