Travel restrictions and shelter-in-place orders have created a new working environment with restrictions on the movement of workers. Employees are prevented from or limited physical access to many facilities. Limited access is a disruption and inevitably will worsen during this crisis. As a result, businesses are facing an unprecedented challenge and must get creative on how they maintain some semblance of regular operations with a compromised workforce. It requires a fresh approach as tried and proven methods are no longer applicable.
Many end clients or owner-operators are looking for inventive ways to isolate personnel from one another, whether it’s through physical barriers, social distancing or, better yet, a shift to remote operations. Remote monitoring tools, like IoT sensors, allow companies to continue operations despite quarantined areas, restricted business and limited staff. These tools and services can alleviate the pressure and bring peace of mind so that companies can maintain continuity and certainty in these very uncertain times.
Data can be retrieved automatically from IoT sensors and a data analytics platform can provide shared visualization. Building managers and facilities teams have instant access to relevant, actionable data that can be evaluated to make informed decisions.
- IoT can provide relief to the overworked staff at a hospital, IoT can be used to reduce the mundane tasks and increase the efficiency of the medical staff’s attention to priority activities, all the while reducing the exposure of healthcare workers to infection.
- IoT can support municipal solid waste departments that need to look at less frequent bin collections or prioritizing certain routes. Unsanitary waste conditions represent a health threat as well as a significant cost to disinfect waste bin locations. Front-line employees’ health and safety need to be maximized in such extraordinary conditions and minimizing the spread of infection from overflowing bins. Waste must be picked up at the right time with reduced human resources and trucks runs.
- IoT can present unique opportunities for energy cost savings in buildings and facilities. Occupancy data helps clarify how and when office space is used or if a person is in a restricted area. Facility managers with remote monitoring, in combination with IoT-based platforms, get an accurate measurement of utilization allowing them to reduce energy costs and migrate from time-based cleaning models to a predictive cleaning model based on usage data.
Wireless IoT sensors are an extremely cost-effective solution for remote monitoring and diagnosis of business-critical needs. These sensors are readily available, easy to deploy, and quick to implement. An IoT sensor can flag an initial issue, provide a threshold alert, and give insight into trends. It is a tool that eliminates the physical presence of the worker maintaining the social distance needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Remote monitoring will be critical to operations as social distancing likely stretches on for months.
With the pace of the pandemic quickening in the US, it can be challenging to implement some of these solutions. Implementing the new technology is different in the era of CoVID-19 as the adoption of new technology hastens out of necessity. We must consider that much of what we are looking to institute right now will be considered the “new normal” in the near future. The surge in need for next-generation tools with connected technologies, across a portfolio of remote monitoring solutions, will transform operations and deliver value to businesses for years to come.