Over the last two decades, the world has seen the outbreak of highly infectious diseases like SARS, Zika virus, Ebola and now COVID-19. Pandemics are a rising threat and epidemics, almost a given. Studies say this is likely due to increased global travel and integration, urbanisation, changes in land use, and greater exploitation of the natural environment. Fortunately, amongst these volatile settings, technology continues to rise to the challenge.

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention and this has certainly been the case with 2019’s coronavirus outbreak. In response to widespread travel bans, public closures and social distancing restrictions, many are turning to digital tools to solve their current human proximity problems.

The further we move through the age of digital innovation, the clearer it becomes that artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) are at the helm. So how is IoT reshaping the future and what role can smart buildings play in securing the world post-COVID-19?

Connectivity in a time of social distancing

In the years since the world saw its first 21st-century epidemic, SARS, technology has become more ubiquitous (anywhere-anytime). This has enabled connectivity between a broader range of devices to a network. An IoT solution can connect everything from vehicles, appliances and medical devices to computers, mobile devices and more.

As such, with the sudden global shutdown placing the public and private sector into an ‘active-pause’ state, businesses have turned to IoT as the technology underpin to their rapidly pivoting operational strategies. With a simple digital customer-interface and interpretation of real-time data, IoT platforms offer the perfect opportunity for organisations to incorporate thermal cameras and other emerging technologies into their buildings to manage the health of their customers and staff. Yet, for companies like IoT.nxt, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Sustainable solutions, post COVID-19

Chief Commercial Officer at IoT.nxt, André Strauss, warns that demand for certain technologies will be relative and that organisations need to look to the future when considering digital optimisation. “My view is, thermal cameras and the demand around them will be super short-lived. The same as ventilators, the world is rushing to build and catalogue them and people will not buy them forever.”

“What will, however, be sustainable and a constant global requirement is components of occupancy management and environmental monitoring and management.”

In the short term, Strauss says companies going back to work globally will grapple with how to count, manage and report on attendance and occupancy. That’s where IoT.nxt’s new CoVision solution seeks to help.

The CoVision platform is a blend of hardware and software that can help with the monitoring and management of public spaces so that social distancing restrictions can be enforced. This technology also paves the way for businesses to make a more sustainable entry into digital buildings.

IoT and Digital Buildings

Smart buildings the key to long-term sustainability

Buildings account for the second-highest cost to companies behind employee salaries. One thing that organisations across sectors have in common are buildings which are used for an array of purposes. Monitoring building occupancy has become critical in shaping building-related decisions for increased cost efficiencies and occupant experience satisfaction.

Several challenges in the management of buildings include fewer resources and increased demand from building owners, aging and disparate systems, new ways of working, increasing demand for user-friendliness, space optimisation and many more.

IoT.nxt’s solution helps to overcome many of these problems and address the needs of a post-COVID-19 world. In particular, CoVision can be used to help organisations in the following ways:

Desk occupancy

Using sensors at each desk, CoVision can be used to monitor the number of employees at a certain workstation to aid in enforcing social distancing restrictions. Each wireless sensor communicates to a wireless sensor gateway that breaks out to the internet over WIFI or ethernet connection.

Real-time people tracking

CoVision monitors the real-time number and position of people in a building space using ceiling mounted sensors. Data is completely anonymous and identities are never used or stored. Sensors communicate to a gateway in the ceiling and use either an ethernet-based or 3G dongle with sim for internet break-out to the IoT.nxt platform.

Entrance counting

CoVision can count the number of people entering and leaving through building entrances using a sensor mounted at each entrance. Sensors use the local Wi-Fi network to communicate occupancy data to the IoT.nxt platform for monitoring and management.

Meeting room occupancy

CoVision can track the number of occupants entering and leaving a meeting room using a sensor at the entrance of each room. Sensors then communicate occupancy data to the IoT.nxt platform for real-time monitoring and management.

Ready to step into the future?

If we’ve learnt anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that business has to be agile. According to CEO and Co-Founder of IoT.nxt, Nico Steyn, “Moving forward, what is going to become more and more apparent is not necessarily our dependence on digital but the level of improvement that we can see coming through by harnessing these technologies.”

“Core to what we believe in and what we see working out there is this ability to be agile in terms of not just implementing systems, but also in your thinking.”

Technology such as IoT offers organisations a unique stepping stone to a more sustainable future in times of crisis. Our CoVision platform could help your business manage social distancing measures, minimise the risk of overcrowding, and restore customer confidence.

See the world differently, with the CoVision solution from IoT.nxt.

To find out more about CoVision, click here or get in touch with our team today via [email protected].


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