In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic raging around the world has forced all walks of life to accelerate the process of digital transformation. Businesses are beginning to explore how new ways of working can streamline their operations and ultimately survive a tough economic environment. Many businesses have adopted connected devices and IoT technologies in a multitude of innovative applications. In 2021, the pandemic will continue to accelerate the innovative application of IoT in industries and environments such as healthcare, retail, and hospitality.
Here are the top five IoT trends predicted by Atmosic CEO David Su in 2021:
Trend 1: Increasing application of photovoltaic energy
Photovoltaic energy sources, including solar energy and indoor and outdoor lighting, offer a greener and more sustainable alternative to traditional power sources such as batteries. Photovoltaic energy harvests energy from sunlight and other light sources through photovoltaic units. We can think of a photovoltaic unit as a mini solar panel or solar Display that is designed to be integrated into a product to capture energy from a light source. In 2021, we will increasingly see people starting to use photovoltaic energy to power IoT applications such as remote controls, beacons, keyboards and mice. With the widespread use of photovoltaics and other alternative energy sources, people’s demand for batteries will gradually decrease, and the environmental waste generated by batteries will also decrease accordingly.
Trend 2: The hotel industry will further increase contactless services
When an outbreak occurs, people reduce the probability of infection by minimizing all forms of contact. To keep travelers safe, the hotel industry is also beginning to reduce touch points with guests and increase contactless services, and these measures are expected to be further advanced in 2021. For example, more and more hotels are starting to use smart wireless door locks and wireless card readers to ensure that guests do not have to touch anything when they check in. At the same time, to ensure feasibility, the hotel will also use controlled energy harvesting technology to extend the battery life of these devices. That way, hotel maintenance staff don’t have to run the risk of contracting the virus by running around to replace batteries inside the hotel, and they can save time for more important things.
Trend 3: More wearable tracking devices
Wearable tracking devices can help businesses gradually return to normal operations. As vaccine rollout still takes some time, wearables that provide risk alerts will be an important solution in workplaces such as warehouses, factories, and medical institutions. Although smartphone makers have begun researching how to integrate tracking software and applications into smartphones, the issues of smartphone access, cost and connectivity remain difficult for some companies to solve.
In this case, wearables can address both cost and access issues while keeping the wearer’s potential exposure to the virus informed. Some companies may also want to use wearables to track other valuable information, such as monitoring body temperature. If an employee’s temperature exceeds a set threshold, the company reminds them to visit a doctor for further diagnosis. Wearable devices can also be designed to withstand high temperatures, tamper resistance, and tear resistance to ensure long-term wear.
Trend 4: More and more wearables and other connected devices will be used in medical applications
Wearable medical devices offer patients and healthcare workers a new way to monitor vital vital signs in patients, identifying problems before they get sicker. An emerging use case for wearable medical devices is continuous blood glucose monitoring, which enables real-time tracking of the effects of food and exercise on human blood sugar levels in a largely painless manner. At the same time, if it is paired with an energy harvesting solution, it can also extend the battery life of continuous glucose monitors and other vital signs monitoring devices, and even enable remote monitoring. A special benefit of remote monitoring capabilities for doctors and parents is that they can monitor patients or babysit anytime and anywhere through a browser or smartphone app.
Trend 5: Increased use of Electronic shelf labels in retail stores
Many retailers are starting to use programmable electronic shelf labels (ESL), as well as other digital signage powered by energy harvesting. The main benefit of digital signage and electronic shelf labels is that product information can be automatically updated in real-time, which means that employees do not have to update in-store banners and price labels with high frequency. As apps mature and technology improves, merchants can also offer special offers to specific customers in real-time as a new promotion. In addition, digital signage and electronic shelf labels also save retailers in the material cost of in-store physical signage in the long run.
As new ideas and new applications become reality in the new year, we will also face more new challenges. We will continue to innovate in the field of IoT, providing new solutions to meet market needs and help eliminate the short-term or long-term impact of the epidemic.
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