28/09/2020

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World IoT Day: NITDA identifies potentials of Internet of Things in managing COVID-19

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BY: Yinka Okeowo
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in joining the global community in celebrating the World Internet of Things (IoT) Day, has advised on how the advanced technology can be utilized in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IoT Council in 2010 set aside the 9th April of every year to mark the World IoT Day.

The day is aimed at celebrating IoT advancement and adoption as well as to enable the IoT community, world-wide to recognize and appreciate the capabilities of IoT in the transformation of nations, communities, manufacturing, businesses and individual’s lives.

IoT

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World IoT Day

It is also a day set aside to reiterate the impact of IoT in all fields of human endeavour.

IoT is the interconnection of smart devices such as phones, wearable electronics, automobiles, industrial and domestic appliances, etc., over the Internet, to send and receive data.

Things to know about IoT

“It is an advanced automation and analytics system that leverages the internet, sensing technologies, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence technology to convey complete systems for a data-driven product or service. Data is collected by mobile installed sensors, health monitors, robots and end-user hardware among others”, the Agency said. “The data is then forwarded to central cloud servers for intelligence mining and analytics”.

How IoT can assist in managing COVID-19

Pointing out the significance of IoT, particular in this trying time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Director-General of NITDA, Mr Inuwa Abdullahi, said this cannot be overemphasised.

“It is unfortunately experienced in recent times that the COVID-19 outbreak is a global crisis, impacting almost all human endeavours, particularly the health sector.

“In the heath sector, IoT could be used to fight the virus outbreak and enforcement of lockdowns where necessary in combination with the Geographic Information System (GIS) and other appropriate technologies.

“Governments all over the world are directing citizens and residence to ‘Work from Home’ as a means of curtailing the spread of the virus. In such a situation, the health sector can promote the use of appropriate IoT solutions and capabilities among doctors and healthcare workers to treat patients via telemedicine. Unfortunately, the pandemic resulted in the loss of many medical doctors and other healthcare workers through physical contact with infected persons. This therefore means that virtual treatments and interactions can go a long way in safeguarding the precious lives of our healthcare workers.

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“Innovative IoT devices such as drones can be used to monitor and enforce compliance of government’s directives of social distancing and prohibition of mass gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. They can also track crowd sizes in real-time as well as coughing and temperature measurements to determine COVID-19 symptoms through analytics from the real-time data generated. In the case of breach of any compliance directives, the IoT devices can intimate the law enforcement agents for necessary action.

“Furthermore, IoT can be used to ensure patients’ compliance or breach of quarantine etiquettes through remote monitoring by healthcare workers. The data generated therein can be used to track down who else can be vulnerable as a result of a breach. Patient management is another area of IoT application.

In the statement signed by The Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations at NITDAMrs Hadiza Umar, the DG added that “It can enable monitoring of all patients who are high-risk enough to warrant quarantine but not serious enough for in-hospital care against the current practice of manual door-to-door patient checking which could be contagious.

he National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a Federal Government Agency under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

NITDA was established in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy as well as coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. Specifically, Section 6(a & c) of the Act mandates NITDA to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria; develop guidelines for electronic governance and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as an alternative to paper-based methods in government, commerce, education, the private and public sectors, labour, and other fields, where the use of electronic communication may improve the exchange of data and information.