Tech called up ‘in the war against the unexpected’

Robotics, internet-of-things applications, automation and flexible supply chains will go a long way to being better prepared for disasters, a new report says.

With much attention understandably focused on health care related to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, a new report has spotlighted the downstream effects the outbreak could have on various technologies.

Taking Stock of COVID-19,” by ABI Research, examined how societal changes brought about in response to Covid-19 are likely to play out as the health threat eases.

For instance, as people fled indoors to avoid contracting and spreading the virus, they went online to communicate, shop, work and take classes. So far, the internet has performed well, with no network blackouts or outages, but that may not be sustainable, according to the report.

“Further spread of the virus may limit the upgrade of these networks either because of equipment shortages or restrictions taken by mobile operators to limit the mobility of staff to prevent further spread of the virus,” it stated.

In the long term, the experience of shifting life online holds promise for consumers and enterprises alike as people turn to online shopping, e-banking, remote education, telehealth and mobile entertainment while enterprises rely more on videoconferencing and online training. Technologies that are likely to get a boost as a result include 5G, artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML), augmented and virtual reality, location technologies, cloud and entertainment localization, and robotics, the report said.

But even as 5G’s demand grows, the ability to provide it could slow. That’s because the supply chain, especially for vendors that rely on Chinese manufacturers, is already seeing a ripple effect as a result of COVID-19. What’s more, 5G standards will be delayed because conferences such as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project can’t meet.

The slowdown won’t last, however. “The effects of the virus will likely accelerate the current trend to make 5G supply chains more robust and less reliant on a very small set of very large infrastructure vendors,” the report stated, and “potential supply chain shortages for 5G equipment will reaffirm the strategy of the U.S. government to create a more open market, which will go well beyond the U.S. market in the long term.”

One movement that’s afoot is a push for domestic products. An executive order in the works would create “Buy American” regulations for masks and medical supplies, for instance, according to the report.

Here’s a look at some of the other markets the report looked at:

Biometrics. In general, biometric AI and ML algorithms are working in overdrive to help governments protect their networks and data as more workers connect remotely, but biometrics such as fingerprint recognition that rely on physical contact pose a health risk. And that shift away from contact-only applications is likely to continue in the long term, the report added, which means governments must consider other options, such as facial and iris recognition. That will generate its own slew of challenges “because a great deal of law enforcement, Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS)/Biometric Identification Systems (BIS), border control, visa and immigrations applications are also based on fingerprint identification,” the report stated.

Drones and robotics. Companies that manufacture drones that can disinfect hospitals and robots that can deliver supplies and food to patients are likely to see demand surge, the report stated. It predicted that the automated material-handling market in health care will reach $4.2 billion in 2030, up from $178 million in 2019, representing a big opportunity for aerospace and drone companies to increase sales to government agencies. Drones used for inspection, monitoring and detection will get a short-term boost from the pandemic as well as those deployed to enforce curfews or monitor secure facilities with the  small drone delivery market to reach $10.4 billion by 2030.

Utilities. Global quarantines are putting a strain on energy and water demand and on utilities’ ability to perform ongoing maintenance. In the short term, utilities must monitor changes in usage and redirect supply where necessary, the report stated, while in the long term, they should strategically invest in internet-of-things technologies to help monitor usage. “Cloud-based IoT platform vendors will need to proactively work with utility service providers to integrate [enterprise resource planning] systems and field service management platforms with real-time cloud databases, such as regional government databases that closely track the Covid-19 outbreak,” according to the report. “This real-time information would allow utilities to identify high-risk affected areas and find alternative routes or work orders for field crews.”

Big data. The data-driven responses to the virus will encourage the modernization of IT systems to improve the detection, tracking, and analysis in times of outbreaks and will depend on IoT data, the report stated. Initially, data will come from smartphone-based apps that pinpoint infections to limit community spread and expand to remote monitoring and smart inventory systems that track people and medical supplies.

 Data protection. Governments and biometrics vendors are responsible for creating citizen-centric solutions and putting the proper security measures in place to prevent the concentration of personally identifiable information and citizens’ biometric, health-care and personal data “in the hands of a few entities with no visibility, no legislative barriers, no surveillance limitations, and no biometric revocation options for the foreseeable future,” the report stated.

“The good news is that technology will be a critical tool in the war against the unexpected,” the report concluded. “Leveraging robotics for the delivery of goods and transportation of people, tapping into the sharing economy to liberate additional capacity for housing, mobility, and freight during emergencies, building automated and flexible production lines and supply chains allowing scalability and regional independence, and massively deploying online and remote capabilities for education, healthcare, meetings, and entertainment will go a long way to being better prepared for disasters.”

NEXT STORY: AI called up in coronavirus fight

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.