COVID-19 Impact on Cellular IOT in Information and Communication Technology Industry
The pandemic started with its epicenter in China in 2019 and has been continuously spreading by then to all over the world, so far 216 countries and territories have been affected with COVID-19, the U.S. being on the top with cases reaching about 4.38 million, followed by Brazil, India and then by many European countries such as Russia, Spain, Italy, and others. The COVID-19 cases reaching to the big named countries with strong dominance in the global market which has adversely affected the economy globally. The spread of the Corona virus has led to the global recession, many companies are being bound to take stringent actions of laying off their employees, small businesses are being shut, manufacturing facilities are being put on hold. There has been a disruption in the supply chain of many industries due to restrictions in logistics and the closing of manufacturing facilities. In addition, the slowdown in the economy has lowered the spending capability of individuals and people are saving money for emergencies. However, now almost in every country, the factories are started to reopen by taking some prevention such as 20% -50% employees on the field, social distancing, extreme hygiene measures, and others to support the economy. It is supporting the economy and helping to lower the recession rate at a certain level.
The pandemic has boosted the growth of the cellular IoT market. In response to the COVID-19 virus, many companies are moving towards working in a more virtual environment. This has placed a focus on organizations embracing collaboration tools and practices to support the virtual workplace. Organizations around the world are supporting the BYOD model (bring your device) to enable sales professionals to better serve their customers and prospects. Moreover, government mandate of work from home (WFH) policies has driven organizations to increasingly focus on more effective ways of engaging with customers in a remote working environment. Shifted focus towards work-from-home requires reliable connectivity and thus businesses will demand connectivity for monitoring and managing assets securely which in turn increases the demand for cellular IoT. The pandemic has exposed bottlenecks and inefficiency in the supply chains due to which businesses were leveraging cellular IoT for consignment and condition tracking to reduce revenue loss and improve product flow. Moreover, the broadband infrastructure all over the world upsurged due to a massive increase in video conferencing and video content streaming due to which cellular IoT becomes a key part of the new digitization era.
· In June 2020, according to Telna whitepaper titled ‘The COVID-19 Impact on Cellular IoT’, new demand for cellular IoT following the pandemic could lead to over 11 billion cellulars IoT connections in the year 2025
IMPACT ON DEMAND
The pandemic has boosted the digital transformation of industries; companies are focusing more on digital technologies to interact with their clients and customers. People are also more reliant on digital sources. The healthcare market is increasing rapidly in this pandemic. Cellular IoT (Internet of Things) in healthcare provides numerous opportunities that benefit both patients and businesses. It allows integrating and combining consumer and clinical data to create smarter and more meaningful connected consumer and care solutions and thus there has been increased o demand for cellular IoT in healthcare.
As industries continue to push the boundaries of wireless technologies, new opportunities are opening for service providers within cellular IoT connectivity. Moreover, it was observed that the gradual spike in demand observed was due to the shift of consumers from traditional platforms to online digital platforms. Also due to lockdown and Covid norms, digitization and automation have become mandatory for any business. Providers need cellular IoT to provide their customers excellent experience to boost sales during this pandemic period. Also, providers need cellular IoT to analyze crucial consumer data and to drive insights for providing enhanced and personal customers experience and formulate effective marketing strategies to overcome the losses.
IMPACT ON SUPPLY CHAIN
The supply chain was adversely affected in the initial phase of the pandemic as lockdown prevailed in many regions globally, the government had limited the workers. Companies are making their operations work according to the government regulations by making limited workers work in different shifts. Industries were facing operational and supply chain disruptions, breakdowns, and labor shortages. Most cellular IoT providers have a large backlog of orders in hand due to chip shortages because of the disruption in the supply chain. However, now there is an improvement in the supply chain as most of the facilities and travel restrictions have opened and working in most optimum capacity. The companies are doing their best to meet the increasing demand.
· In May 2021, the chip shortage has affected the shipment volumes and profit margins of cellular IoT. Also, the global semiconductor shortage due to pandemic had affected some cellular module companies
LONG TERM STRATEGY ADOPTED BY MANUFACTURERS OR STEPS TAKEN
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to expand, makers would possibly face challenges on varied fronts. Producing firms would be searching for immediate measures to stay their workforces safe and their businesses solvent. Makers would conjointly have to be compelled to look on the far side of their economic viability. Because the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, makers would possibly face continued pressure on demand, production, and revenues. They’d continuously face cash-flow liquidity challenges and difficulties in managing debt obligations. The pandemic has boosted the growth of the cellular IoT market. Thus, developers and providers were focusing on strategic decisions like partnerships, acquisition, product launch, mergers, and collaborations to meet the increasing demand in the Covid outbreak.
· In April 2021, Bharti Airtel launched Airtel IoT, an integrated platform that would enable enterprises to utilize the power of the Internet of Things and prepare for the emerging era of connected things. It provides with the capability to connect and manage various devices and applications
· In April 2019, AT&T launched its narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network across the U.S., to complement its LTE-M network along with high-speed cellular coverage. Some of the IoT use cases include programs such as smart meters and location tracking, as well as connected street lights and smart appliances
Pandemic has taken a toll on every aspect of life, including the global economy. With the significant downfalls in many sectors, a collaborative effort of government, industry players, and consumers can win the fight against COVID-19.
It continues to inflict the world with appalling economic and social dilemmas, capable enough to leave severe backlash on the economy for the next several years. The first wave had already inflicted severe blows to the population as well as the economy. The currently experiencing second wave is expected to be more disastrous not only to the masses but also to ICT markets.
However, COVID-19 boosted the growth of the global cellular IoT market due to factors such as an increase in IoT connections, growing support from the government toward IoT initiatives, shift toward remote working, adoption of 5G network, surging networking budgets in countries, and ongoing development in wireless networking technologies.