IoT and COVID-19: How IoT Can Help Fight COVID-19

Internet of Things (IoT):History:

In the early 1980s and 1990s, the idea to integrate sensors with devices came up, but the world was not ready for it. The chips were too big to transmit information effectively. The invention of RFID was a big step forward towards IoT. The smaller and wireless chips in RFID were a replacement to the previously used bigger chips. With time, cellular wireless networks became increasingly common. IPV6 also helped with IP addresses for virtually millions of devices. Finally, in 1999, the phrase ‘Internet of Things’ was coined by Kevin Ashton.

IoT (internet of things) Image

RFID tags on expensive equipment to track their location were one of the first IoT devices.

IoT Definition:

The definition of Things (IoT) is a vast network of interconnected devices (for example, soil sensors, traffic signals, electrical home appliances) with embedded sensors. These devices are primarily digital or mechanical machines with the ability to sense, capture, read, and transfer data to other devices. The sensors collect data mainly about their environment, usage, and physical condition of the equipment. This data is continuously collected and sent to the IoT platform for further processing and analytics.

The devices use a common language and the IoT platform to communicate with each other when needed. Further processing and analytics are performed on the collected data for extracting valuable information. The user can obtain information about almost anything without any human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction, which is precisely why your PC and smartphone are generally not considered IoT devices.

  • Switching on the air conditioner with a remote
  • A jet engine sending information through sensors to make sure it is operating efficiently
  • A fitness band tracking your heartbeat
  • The industries IoT has impacted significantly are Farming, Healthcare, Advertising, Automotive, Transportation, Retail, Manufacturing, and Energy, to name a few.

    Internet of Things (IoT) in the Healthcare Industry:

    With global pandemics and chronic diseases on the rise, the healthcare industry needs massive improvements. In the past few decades, IoT applications have made remarkable progress. Now IoT is revolutionizing the healthcare industry. From Artificial Intelligence-based symptom checkers to virtual doctors and appointments over the internet, it has taken the industry by storm. Regular medical check-ups are becoming more home-centric than hospital-centric in some countries. Medical IoT can improve efficiency in systems with a better patient satisfaction rate. IoT can also help to manufacture customized medicines according to the patients’ symptoms. It can make patients’ monitoring and data collection quicker, more reliable, and less redundant.

    IoT and COVID-19: How can IoT help


    In December 2019, In Wuhan, an outbreak of a new virus was observed. This virus is named as COVID-19. Coronavirus is a new kind of virus that was unknown before, and therefore there is no authentic vaccine available for the virus until now. This is an infectious disease that proves fatal in many individuals, but the recovery rate is increasing with better precautionary measures. It has become a massive global epidemic that has claimed about 16 million worldwide people as of July 2020. Proper care, timely medication, and precautions are required to prevent the virus from proving fatal.

    IoT Based Applications and COVID-19:

    IoT based applications can come to the rescue to increase the recovery rate by improving the data collection, testing, symptoms monitoring, and patient’s customized medications as per his condition. While collecting the data of suspected coronavirus patients, instead of manual records, a customized software in a wireless device for the disease with sensors to check the body temperature and respiratory condition can be developed to obtain more reliable and authentic information.

    The laboratory results from swab testing can also be fed later in the patients’ files on the system or device. This will decrease the chances of errors and streamline the system. Wristbands to track COVID-19 symptoms can also be developed.

    There are a few recommendations based on IoT that can be employed for more efficiency in COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment.

    Remote monitoring:

    A smart monitoring system can be developed to track the patients’ conditions and symptoms to send updates to the physician for better treatment. Since this disease is highly contagious, an IoT based application and the device will decrease the frequency of contact with the patients for a regular check-up, thus reducing the risk for healthcare workers. In June 2018, a similar monitoring system known as CYROE was developed for cancer patients.

    Ingestible Sensors:

    Ingestible sensors can be developed. These are the pills with ingestible sensors installed in them. Once the medicine is taken, the sensors send a signal to the device worn on the body that the medication has been taken. This can create proper checks & balances and shall decrease the chances of errors and negligence on the healthcare workers’ part. Proteus Digital Health developed these for uncontrolled hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes.

    Digital wristbands:

    Digital Wristbands to track early symptoms like body temperature and blood viscosity can be developed to avoid negligence by the suspected COVID-19 patients.

    Operations Management:

    In hospitals, IoT can help better monitor the equipment. Several wheelchairs, ventilators, beds can be calculated by the IoT devices to have more accuracy. They can also be used to track the real-time location of the equipment.

    Hand-sanitizer sensors:

    Installing hand sanitizer dispensers in hospitals with sensors to detect the exact time and frequency of usage can significantly improve hand hygiene. A beep sound may be made if the hospital staff goes past it without using it. A similar thing was developed that would send the collected data to Microsoft Azure.

    Smart-vaccine fridge:

    When the vaccine is developed, hopefully soon, using a smart-vaccine fridge to store it and keep it from damage might be pretty helpful. Weka Smart Fridge has already been developed, and using it after vaccine creation will significantly improve the vaccination system.


    Internet of things (IoT) technology can provide significant benefits to COVID-19 treatment both for patients and hospital staff. However, developing such devices requires preparation and time because the system needs to be error-free and secure. Many IoT based applications and devices are already being used in the healthcare industry; we are waiting to see their application in fighting COVID-19 pandemic.

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