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Impact of COVID-19 on IoT Adoption in Healthcare, Smart Homes, Smart Buildings, Smart Cities, Transportation and Industrial IoT

In this paper, the authors discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on the adoption of IoT in different sectors namely healthcare, smart homes, smart buildings, smart cities, transportation and industrial IoT. The changes in policies, priorities and activities that followed the pandemic are analyzed as a catalyst for technology and innovation.

The authors draw conclusions from the analysis of relevant research literature and the examination of existing reports from Gartner, Yole, McKinsey and other consulting firms. Furthermore, for each of the analyzed sectors, they examine new initiatives that are being taken, challenges that need to be addressed and important research directions that will facilitate IoT adoption.

According to the authors, this pandemic has forced governments, organisations and individuals to change/adapt their priorities, their views on societal/ethical issues, and the way they operate. In many cases, this has addressed or mitigated many of the reasons that in the past have led to a slower-than-expected adoption of IoT across many verticals.

In this research it is underlined that the pandemic has not necessarily positively impacted the adoption of IoT in all sectors, at least in the short-term. Therefore, there is an analysis of both the short-term and mid- to long-term impact.  

COVID-19, as a macroeconomic shock, has impacted not only individual behaviours but has also enforced governments and organisations to change their policies and priorities. This is fueling the adoption of IoT and other technologies in many areas especially in healthcare and smart cities. On the other hand, financial stress brought by the global recession has adversely impacted the technology adoption in the short-term in some sectors such as transportation. However, according to the authors, in the mid- to long-term when financial stress is eased, this pandemic is expected to accelerate IoT adoption in a broader range of sectors.

Following is provided a summary of major challenges and key research directions per sector, as defined by this research:

  • All: reducing the cost of developing, installing and using IoT solutions and systems, data security and privacy
  • Healthcare: low-energy or energy harvesting wearables, research-grade wearables, AI algorithms on healthcare devices (edge AI), more-accessible healthcare  
  • Smart Homes: designing cheap and easy-to-use IoT devices, more customisable and intelligent IoT devices, smart energy management  
  • Smart Buildings: semantic-aware and dynamics-aware indoor modeling, sensor data integration and exploitation, context-awareness
  • Smart Cities: integrating and sharing data from disparate sources, standardized smart city architectures, personalized modeling
  • Transportation: data-driven and self-adaptive decision making, generating IoT tracking & monitoring data and effective techniques to share it with travelers, traceable and transparent logistics, vaccine passports
  • Industrial IoT: virtual reality based remote work, digital twins

You can find the paper here.