Could IoT be the silver bullet we need to manage COVID-19 and other global pandemics in the future?
Just when we all thought that COVID-19 was a distant memory for NZ during our 101 days of freedom at Level 1, over the past month we have found ourselves back in lockdown to prevent community transmission following a small cluster emerging in Auckland. This outbreak has served as a reminder that we will be living and having to manage, the impacts of future COVID-19 outbreaks for some time.
Whilst tightening up our borders and increased testing will help to limit the chance of future outbreaks, contact tracing is the key tool that our public health officials are using to get ahead of the virus when a new cluster emerges in the community. Whilst the initial uptake of the government’s COVID-19 Tracing App was very low and very few businesses were displaying the QR code, this recent outbreak has seen the use of the App dramatically increase and businesses comply with government requirements. I think we all now understand the value in collecting this information to protect ourselves and the communities we live in.
It’s likely that the need for contact tracing and even “health passports” will become commonplace over the next several years as we continue to deal with COVID-19 and plan for future pandemics. So whilst the use of a manual App may respond to an immediate need, what part could IoT play in the future to automatically trace your movements and provide a level of automated alerting should you come into contact with someone who is infected? Furthermore, could technology be used to prevent you coming into contact with people who may be at risk thereby eliminating the need to lock down a city or country? This is something we have never considered before but we all know the world has changed since COVID-19. There are significant security, ethical and privacy issues which would need to be resolved, but could IoT, connected devices and AI be the new silver bullet we need to fight not just COVID-19, but many other pandemic type diseases globally in the future?
Tech Futures Lab Launches Post Graduate Certificate in Connected Environments
Last week the NZ IoT Alliance and Tech Futures Lab held a joint virtual ‘Connect’ event to launch its brand new ‘Post Graduate Certificate in Connected Environments’. This is a game-changer for the IoT industry as it seeks to accelerate learning, knowledge and experience within the IoT community. This new programme is aimed at business leaders in the design, management and governance of IoT systems. The course will focus on three core principles of IoT including Devices, Data and Governance including privacy and ethics. The new program is being run part-time over 34 weeks with a mixture of weekly facilitated online classes and six full-day workshops. Applications are still open for both the September and November intakes.
NZ IoT Alliance Council nominations close next Tuesday 8 September
Finally, a reminder that nominations for the NZ IoT Alliance Executive Council are currently open. All New Zealand IoT Alliance member organisations can nominate a representative. This is your chance to be involved in shaping the future direction of Aotearoa’s IoT sector! Submit your nomination using the online form here. The deadline for nominations is 5pm on Tuesday 8 September 2020. Online elections will follow and the new Council will be announced at our Annual Meeting on Tuesday 13 October 2020. Please register if you want to attend the Annual Meeting – note this is a member-only event.
The team at the NZ IoT Alliance
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