Though an exhaustive and often morbid subject, the global response to Covid-19 has been quite a heart-warming spectacle to witness. The world is collectively tackling a pandemic, leveraging the latest and greatest technologies to beat this pandemic. Without these new tools we may have been facing darker days, but we are equipped better than ever to take it on.
Tracking, Tracing, Monitoring
Though it is almost impossible to be perfectly prudent in the anticipation of an invisible enemy, it is certainly spurring on rapid and radical developments in technology across the board. Though some technologies are beginning to shine a little brighter than others, and of all the technologies out there, the Internet of Things (IoT) may be one of the most effective on the frontlines.
IoT technologies have been applied in healthcare/hospital settings for quite some time; multiple devices/sensors all gathering and sharing critical pieces of data in real-time, allowing for faster responses to changes in patients conditions or even with wearable technologies such as Fitbit or the Apple Watch that can monitor your health, and report it if need be.
Ultrasounds, thermometers, electrocardiograms, and any other device that can be connected or used to monitor the health of an individual can be traced and tracked, which can even result in the automation of healthcare such as automated deliveries of pharmaceutical supplies, or smart-dispenser devices that notify users when they need to take their medication.
Coming for Covid-19
At the highest end of IoT technology, devices can collect patient data without human touch, which in the instance of our current pandemic is a potential life-saver on both ends of care services.
Reducing exposure to the virus is, at present, our best defense; VivaLNK, a Californian company was recently leveraged by the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center (SPHCC), alongside Cassia Network, to bring in Bluetooth IoT products and solutions to the frontline of Covid-19 patient care.
VivaLNK’s sensors monitor body temperature in real-time, and this data is sent through Cassia’s database and IoT Access Controller, a management tool that allows staff to get a holistic view of patient vitals; reportedly, these solutions are being leveraged in several other hospitals in China and may have been significantly conducive to the reduction of transmission.
IoT also has a place in the monitoring of staff and equipment locations. Real-time location systems (RTLS) are commonplace in IoT networks; when paired with wearable devices, hospitals and care centres can monitor and track the number of patients, doctors, or people in any given location. This is incredibly potent as hospital administrators can monitor who has, for example, been in a high-risk quarantine area, and who they may have come in contact with before and after.
These are just small examples of IoT in times of crisis, but they true beacons of hope. IoT sensor data can interface with almost any industry and sector it needs to, and in our current pandemic, there has never been a better time to stretch the capacity of these technologies.
Technology is gunning for Covid-19, and IoT is just one weapon in humanities arsenal, watch this space, there’s plenty more to come.