Growing role of LoRaWAN® during COVID-19

 

In early 2020, the world was struck with COVID-19, a viral pandemic that quickly spread from ground zero in Wuhan, China to the rest of the world. As the virus wreaked havoc around the globe, technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) have proven to play a major role in mitigating the spread of the virus. With the focus today on minimizing human-to-human interaction, IoT solutions are being used to ensure social distancing best practices as well as to enable preventive methods to reduce the risk of infection.

Amongst the plethora of IoT solutions available, those focused on safety, health, hygiene, and sanitation are being rapidly deployed to address some of the most critical aspects in reducing the spread of the virus. These solutions have not only reenergized the tech industry during these hard-economic times, but have also created a new movement focused on wellness and healthcare.

 

Benefits of LoRaWAN®

 

During this time of financial turbulence, businesses are in need of low-cost solutions which address the COVID-19 challenges they are facing. Aside from costing, these solutions need to be available for all employees and throughout all of their facilities. LoRaWAN®, being a Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technology, provides long distance communication while extending the life of devices deployed. With decreased infrastructure and the reduction in device replacement, the overall cost of LoRaWAN® solutions become a fraction of the cost when comparing other technologies and IoT solutions. On top of the cost benefits, the technology has flexible deployment options for indoor and outdoor requirements.

 

LoRaWAN® Solutions

 
People Counting

As the world begins to resume operations, India has also begun to slowly “Unlock” with the precautionary social distancing measures implemented in early March of this year. As the footfall increases in public areas and business parks throughout India, LoRaWAN® people counters are starting to be considered as viable options for monitoring the density of people in public areas and to determine the areas of higher risk for viral spread.

People counters are also beginning to be evaluated for indoor monitoring of people in offices, facilities, campuses, and Government buildings. With integration of the device data and IoT analytics platforms, decision makers are able to receive alerts and inform their staff of overcrowded areas or places which need to be temporarily avoided due to the number of people present in those locations.

 
Nurse / Panic Call Buttons

Administrators of hospitals and other facilities which provide housing to COVID-19 patients have also began to leverage IoT solutions to improve patient response times and management of emergency situations while resources are spread thin. Solutions such as LoRaWAN® panic buttons have been handed out to doctors, nurses, and patients to trigger emergency response systems and alarms in case there is an emergency or life-threatening event taking place.

With the long battery life and wireless long-range capabilities, these panic buttons are easily carried by the person and able to send signals, no matter where the person resides within the facilities premises. These devices come in many different form factors such as badges, wrist bands, and other wearable forms providing an easy mode of transportation.

 
Proximity Monitoring and Contact Tracing

As businesses resume their daily operations and employees are asked to return back to the office, it is critical for these businesses to ensure that the social distancing and safety policies are being met. In an attempt to provide a safe workplace for their employees and customers, businesses have started deploying LoRaWAN® enabled proximity and contact tracing solutions to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Leveraging wearable technology, long-range communication, and data analytics, it has become possible to monitor the movement of personnel and use the collected information to identify those who have come in “contact” with infected people. These solutions also alert personnel when they have exceeded the proximity thresholds between themselves and others by vibrating, triggering alarms, or even sending SMS notifications to their mobile phones.

 

Smart Human Body Temperature

In a response to restrict infected people from entering public areas, local authorities, businesses, and institutions have begun to deploy smart solutions which detect the body temperatures of the people entering and store the data for auditing and compliance reporting. These LoRaWAN® devices are equipped with infrared temperature sensors, wireless communication capabilities, and run on battery allowing for ease of deployment at any entry or exit point regardless of it being indoor or outdoor.

 

Pharmaceutical Storage Monitoring

To ensure uninterrupted supply of drugs and medicines, hospitals and testing facilities have started leveraging cold storage solutions to monitor and maintain the appropriate temperature levels of their refrigerators which store their pharmaceutical products. LoRaWAN® solutions such as temperature and humidity devices are being used for real-time monitoring of their storage rooms and trigger alerts as soon as abnormal readings are detected preventing the products from spoiling and no longer being effective.

 

Conclusion

 

As the world comes together to fight this horrific pandemic and communities look for ways to slowly return life back to “normal”, technologists are doing their part by leveraging their expertise to innovate and solve challenging problems society will face during this ongoing battle. Although many other technologies are being leveraged in solutioning, deployed LoRaWAN® solutions are demonstrating immediate benefits for organizations and businesses across the globe. Low-cost, long-range, and flexible deployment models make LoRaWAN® the perfect option for all the use cases mentioned above.

Contact us to learn more about how SenRa and other LoRa Alliance® member companies are contributing to the fight against COVID-19.