The Difference Between Blockchain Technology & Cryptocurrency

It seems like everywhere you look these days, someone is talking about blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. But what do they actually mean? And are they the same thing?

This blog post will break down the differences between blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and explain why businesses should be paying attention to both. We’ll also give some examples of how businesses use both technologies to power their operations. So read on to learn more.

What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) that records transactions in a digital public or private database in chronological order. “Blocks” of verified transaction data are added to the chain, creating an immutable record of all activity on the blockchain.

Blockchain technology can create both public and private blockchain networks. A public blockchain network is one where anyone can join and view the transaction history, while a private blockchain network is “permissioned,” meaning only authorized users can access it.

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Blockchain is distributed across a network of computers, with each computer or “node” having a copy of the entire database. This makes it incredibly difficult for someone to hack or tamper with the data, as they would need to update the copy on every node in the network simultaneously. In addition, blockchain technology enables users to anonymously record and verify transactions without a third-party intermediary. This not only makes transactions more secure but also reduces transaction fees.

Blockchain technology came to the surface with Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper in 2008. It has vast applications, including in cryptocurrencies supply chain management and voting.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. Most cryptocurrencies are decentralized and not subject to control by the government or financial institutions. They’re often traded on decentralized exchanges and can be used to purchase goods and services. Some popular cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

The organic nature of cryptocurrency is its most defining feature. It is not issued by any central authority and is therefore immune to government manipulation or interference. Cryptocurrency is based on blockchain technology.

Blockchain constantly grows as “completed” blocks are added with a new set of recordings. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. Cryptocurrency nodes use the blockchain to differentiate legitimate crypto transactions from attempts to re-spend coins that have already been spent elsewhere. This can’t be possible with a credit card.

Essentially, blockchain provides the backbone for cryptocurrency transactions by allowing for a decentralized ledger of all crypto exchanges. Cryptocurrency is built on blockchain and allows for digital currency transactions without a third-party intermediary.

What Are The Key Differences Between Blockchain Technology And Cryptocurrency?

There are a few key differences between blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

Nature of blockchain vs. cryptocurrency

Blockchain is a decentralized technology with no central authority that controls it. On the other hand, Cryptocurrency can be decentralized or centralized, depending on the currency. Bitcoin, for example, is a decentralized cryptocurrency, while Ripple is a centralized cryptocurrency.

Use

Blockchain is the underlying technology that powers cryptocurrency. It is a digital ledger of cryptocurrency transactions. Cryptocurrency is built on blockchain and is primarily used for digital financial transactions (storing wealth, making payments, or investments).

Blockchain has a wide range of other potential applications beyond powering cryptocurrency. It could be used to create a decentralized database of medical records or track the movement of goods through a supply chain.

Value

Blockchain doesn’t have monetary value and, therefore, cannot be used to measure wealth. On the other hand, cryptocurrency has monetary value and can be used to measure wealth.

 

Potential Security Risks Associated With Blockchain Technology Or Cryptocurrency

As with any new technology, there are always potential risks associated with implementing blockchain or cryptocurrency into business operations.

a.    One of the biggest concerns of security in cryptocurrency or blockchain is the possibility of hacking. Because blockchain is a decentralized system, it is less vulnerable to hacking than traditional systems. However, there have been cases where hackers have been able to access wallets and steal funds.

b.    Another risk to consider is the volatility of cryptocurrencies. The prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can fluctuate wildly, making them a risky investment for businesses.

c.    Finally, businesses should be aware of blockchain and cryptocurrency's regulatory environment. In some countries, such as China, ICOs are banned outright. In others, such as the United States, regulations are still being developed.

 

How Businesses Are Already Using Blockchain Technology Or Cryptocurrency To Power Their Operations  

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While still in its early stages, blockchain technology is beginning to be adopted by businesses across various industries. Here are a few examples of how businesses are using blockchain to power their operations:

Get Blockchain Technology for Healthcare

Blockchain technology is something that is often misunderstood. However, it has the potential to revolutionize how data is shared in a secure way between different parties. If you are looking for a way to use blockchain technology in your business or industry, please contact us. We have experience implementing this cutting-edge technology and can help you get started on using it in your organization.

Can A CRM Help With My Senior Care Community?

The National Investment Center for the Senior Housing and care (NIC) recently reported that senior housing occupancy in the United States has been lowest since 2020. Therefore, your senior care community needs to stand out to get more clients.

The method you use to store, collect and retrieve data on leads in your community’s sales cycle is important. It helps determine how easy it will be to convert prospects to residents in your senior care community.

Initially, senior living communities tracked leads and managed client relationships with spreadsheets or the usual pen and paper. However, with advancements in technology, spreadsheets may no longer be efficient. Most successful senior care communities use a software called Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to track leads and manage client relationships.

This article discusses CRM in detail. We will look at what it is, how it will help your senior care community, and why you should consider it.

What is a CRM?

CRM software is a tool that senior care communities use to market, manage sales, and build relationships that provide referrals and build occupancy. The software achieves this by centralizing customer data from various sources, thus making it easier for you to make intelligent business decisions.

A CRM also allows you to maximize referrals and leads through automated communications and tracking interactions. You can actively engage with people listed in your software. Doing so goes a long way in converting them to residents.

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How CRM helps you engage with prospects

Seniors, especially those living with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitive impairment, require a high level of care. For instance, if the senior has dementia, they will need to select one out of many memory care facilities that prioritize dementia care.

Since relocating to a senior community involves uprooting their entire lifestyles, seniors or family members taking care of them know it’s a big decision. It is only natural that prospects will research senior care communities as much as possible and ask questions when they need clarification. Your job is to provide them with all the relevant information and answer any questions.

Actively engaging with prospects makes them perceive your community as knowledgeable. It also shows that you care about their welfare.

CRM makes engaging with prospects relatively easy through automation. Additionally, when your community’s representatives contact prospects in real life, you can track and monitor their performance. Generally, CRM platforms ensure you don’t lose any leads.

Why use a CRM in your senior care community?

Building relationships is critical in every senior living community. You may initiate relationships through interpersonal interactions, personalized tours, and marketing campaigns, but you still need to turn prospects into clients.

Since most communities have several team members and prospects, there is a need to maintain trusting, consistent, and strong relationships between prospective clients and the brand. This is where a CRM comes in.

A CRM system consolidates client information and manages client relationships on your behalf. Below are ways a CRM can help your senior care community.

Capturing leads and critical information

With CRM, you can easily capture and store data on prospective residents in a centralized location. By doing so, you can see what information they are interested in and track your interaction with them.

This information will also come in handy in care planning when the prospect becomes a resident.

Nurturing prospects to increase occupancy

A CRM enables you to stay in touch with your prospects and build relationships with them. You can collect data on their goals and interests and save the information to your CRM to deliver a personalized experience.

The CRM can easily create personalized communications to tailor-fit the prospects’ profiles so that the information they get is what they need.

Increased insight

A CRM software enables sales and marketing teams to view relevant data and prospect statistics. This way, you can tell which audiences you have been more successful with and which ones require more effort.

A CRM solution also helps you and your staff make appropriate follow-ups.

With increased insight, your sales process will be highly effective since you know exactly where you need to focus. The prospect report from a CRM helps you prioritize the strong prospects you can potentially convert to customers. You can use various marketing and sales tactics on these prospects, including direct mail and targeted online advertisements.

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Automation

A CRM will reduce the response time of your senior care community through automation. The CRM tools change the reporting process from manual to automated. You can filter the automated dashboard to display as little or as much data as you want.

Additionally, the software can schedule follow-up e-mails or calls and issue post-tour surveys. Using this technology can also reduce human error, saving you a lot of time and resources.

Automation also allows you to reallocate valuable resources. Instead of focusing on data entry or management, you can build meaningful relationships with prospective clients. Additionally, you can follow up on your prospects faster. This way, they will deem your senior care community reliable and responsive.

Improved reporting and analytics

Your CRM allows you to manage all your data in one place. You can use it to generate reports which present and interpret essential data.

Additionally, you can monitor your sales and marketing team’s performance and analyze sales activity, trends, and referral sources.

Revenue tracking

A CRM automatically allows you to cross-reference the revenue you have earned with your marketing efforts.

With a CRM, you can quickly evaluate how effective your marketing methods are by tracking your margins and comparing your expenditure and revenue. Together with demographic insights, this information will help you focus on audiences with a higher purchasing power.

Get started with CRM for your senior care community

CRM is an essential tool for every senior care community. It promotes efficiency and helps turn prospects into customers.

Our CRM is tailor-made for senior care communities. Contact us to get more information on how our CRM tool will help you. It is designed to build occupancy in your senior care community and make more profit in the process. We would be delighted to show you how our CRM tool can seamlessly integrate into your community.

 (877) 472-5587

Top Modifications for Senior Living Spaces

Seniors are more vulnerable to slip and fall, especially if they have long-term health issues. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Unfortunately, falls are the leading cause of injury, hospital admissions, and even death among this population. When falls happen, they can result in broken bones, hip fractures, head injuries, and even depression. That’s why modifications for senior living spaces need to be made to lower the chances of slip and fall accidents.

The fear of falling becomes more common as people age, even among those who haven’t fallen. It can make the elderly avoid social and physical activities like shopping, walking, or interacting. Senior-proofing your senior living community can give residents confidence that they are safe and encourage them to participate in different activities. It can also lower the chances of accidents happening.

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That being said, here are some top modifications for senior living spaces:

Install stair railings

A majority of stairway falls result from loss of balance. And with issues like stiff or damaged joints, neurological conditions, and ear problems being common among the elderly, it’s easy to see what loss of balance happens a lot. Since stairway accidents can lead to severe injury and even death, installing quality stair railings is essential. Good design and construction of stairs and handrails can substantially minimize the chances of misstepping by offering a way to retrieve balance.

Note: When installing handrails, it’s best to put them on both sides of the stairways. But if your stairway is wide, you can put a single handrail at the center. Rounded handrails also perform better as they fit the hand better than other designs.

Modify bathtub and showers to make them more accessible

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Older adults find it hard to use the toilet, faucets, shower, and bathtub effectively and safely. Most of them have lost strength and mobility, so standing in a shower for a long time is not possible. It’s also risky to get in and out of a bathtub. Luckily, there is a range of modifications you can make to enhance senior safety in your facility. These include:

Modify the floors

The more consistent you can be with your senior living flooring, the safer your facility will be. Consistency limits the number of transitions which are often tripping hazards. Many seniors drag their fit or don’t lift them as much. So when you have transitions, it’s best to keep the height difference at a minimum, or when possible, level in all rooms.

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Remove, repair, or replace any lumps, bumps, breaks, saddles, transitions, holes, and other trip hazards, both inside the facility and in any outdoor spaces. Consider replacing multiple types of flooring indoors with one uniform type of nonskid flooring to reduce physical and visual transitions between rooms. You can also:

Widen doorways for accessibility

Sticky, narrow, or unwieldy doors make it hard for seniors to access the rooms, especially when using a wheelchair. They can impede mobility in the senior living facility and overall space access for seniors. So, if the aging parents in your facility have trouble accessing the room, you may want to make modifications to fix the doors. Here are some ideas:

Implement assistive technology for safer spaces

Seniors, especially those with disabilities, still need some form of independence even when staying in assisted homes. So you’ll need to make a range of accommodations, including the use of senior care technology. Assistive technology includes any tool or service used to increase, maintain and improve the functional capabilities of seniors.

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Smart technology may include an amplification device to make sounds easy to hear, or something as simple as a walker to improve mobility. It could also be a magnifying glass for a senior adult with vision issues or a scooter that makes it possible to cover long distances. So, basically, assistive technology is anything that helps continued participation in daily activities. Here are some examples:

The goal of modifications for senior living facilities is to create safer rooms and spaces for all residents. It will also help protect you from any liabilities within the facility. But you’ll need an expert to help you with some modifications, including safe room design.

At Wytcote, we can help you design safe spaces that will set your facility apart from the rest. Contact us today to learn more.

What is Social Engineering? Can it Bypass Great Security

Social engineering scams revolve around the hacker’s use of manipulation and confidence. These techniques tend to make victims act in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t. Usually, victims act the way they do because of heightened emotions, a sense of urgency, and trust.  

Today’s cyber attackers are smart. They know that companies invest millions of dollars in corporate security features. They also know that every organization has the weakest link – human error. That’s why they keep devising clever ways to manipulate people to give up confidential information. Social engineering is one technique that hackers use to fool unsuspecting users into handing over sensitive information, like passwords, banking information and personal information.

What is social engineering?

It is a form of cyber-attack that exploits people through deception and trickery. It taps into human vulnerabilities like trust, emotions, or habits to gain access to networks, systems, and physical locations. Usually, the attackers intend to trick users into providing details like bank account details, social security numbers, or login credentials. But they may also want to access a computer and secretly install malicious software that gives them control over the computer.

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Attackers use social engineering techniques to hide their real identities and motives. They pose as trusted individuals or experts, but their only intention is to influence, manipulate, or trick users into giving up access or confidential data. A majority of social engineering attacks are based on the way people act and think. As such, these scams are particularly useful in exploiting a user’s actions. Once the hacker understands the reasons behind a target’s actions, he or she can effectively manipulate and deceive them.

How social engineering works

Social engineering attacks happen in one or more steps. First, the hackers run background checks to gather as much information about the target as possible. Then they’ll try to win over the target’s trust and persuade them to reveal confidential information. As opposed to violent methods, fraudsters use persuasion and confidence to prompt the victims into taking actions.

In a nutshell, social engineers:

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What social engineering attacks look like?

Social engineering attacks appear as an ordinary text message, email, phone call, or voice call from a seemingly safe source. Ultimately, it ends with the victim’s action, like exposing themselves to malware or sharing sensitive data.

Many people assume that they can tell scams right off the bat, but today’s attackers are much more advanced. They know how to disguise themselves. And, with a couple of details here and there, they can easily gain access to your organization’s various accounts and networks.

As Kevin Mitnick, a former hacker and social engineering expert, once said, “There isn’t a technology today that can’t be overcome through social engineering.” 

Attackers are using social engineering to attack even the most sophisticated systems. In 2016, for instance, the United States Department of Justice fell for social engineering bait that saw a leak of personal information of 9,000 DHS and 20,000 FBI employees. In the same year, the Democratic National Convention lost over 150,000 emails, thanks to a spear-phishing email that appeared to be a legitimate email from Google. Other famous attacks include Ubiquiti Networks BEC, in 2015, Yahoo hack in 2014, Sony Pictures Hack in 2014, and US Department of Labor Watering Hole in 2013.

Types of social engineering attacks

1.     Email from a trusted source (phishing emails)

Hackers use psychological manipulation to get victims to take different actions. For instance, they may send out an urgent message like this one:

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Most employees will jump into action when they receive such an urgent email from their “boss.” They will even prioritize it over anything else. What’s more, some will proceed with the instructions without asking any questions. Emails may also come from another trusted source – like a friend, industry expert, and so on.

Phishing scams deliberately take advantage of the trust that individuals have in legitimate email owners. Attackers use different phishing methods and platforms, including:

2.     Baiting

In baiting, an attacker leaves malware-infected device where a target can find it. Sometimes, they label it in an appealing way to make it even more luring. When a person picks and plugs it into their machine, they unknowingly infect their computer with malware.

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3.     Tailgating

Also known as piggybacking, tailgating is where a disguised attacker follows an authenticated staff into a restricted area. He or she then asks the employee to hold the door for them, thereby gaining access to the building.

4.     Pretexting

Pretexting involves hackers creating an excellent ploy to try and steal their target’s data. In pretexting, the fraudsters may say that they need some information from their victims to confirm their identity – but they use the information to stage secondary attacks or identity theft. In some cases, the attackers manipulate their victims into doing something that abuses the company’s physical and digital weaknesses.

Unlike in phishing where scammers capitalize on the victim’s urgency and fear, pretexting depends on creating a false sense of trust with the victim. Meaning, the hacker has to build a good story that victims believe.

Social engineering prevention

Security awareness training is the best way to prevent social engineering. Companies should sensitize their teams about social engineering as well as the tactics that attackers use. Employees should know well to delete any requests for passwords or secure financial data. They should also reject requests or offers of help. It’s equally important for companies to update their operating systems and also install firewalls, anti-virus software and email filters.

What are the Newest Hospital Technologies?

The healthcare industry is ripe for some major changes. From patient care and treatment to research and marketing, there are endless opportunities to use technology to deliver more accurate, efficient, and quick interventions at the right moment in a patient’s care. Here are some of the newest hospital technologies and their uses.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the newest hospital technologies today. It is becoming more sophisticated at doing what humans do, but in a precise, quick and affordable way. AI can help in medical diagnosis, mental and behavioral health, medical marketing, human resource management and more.

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Hospitals are now using AI in HR management to streamline workflows. This will allow health care providers to serve maximum patients on any given day without compromising quality. Hospitals are also integrating AI systems to the workflow and scheduling software to allow for real-time adjustments whenever appointments and cancelations come in.

In addition to optimizing workflows, AI is also helping in-clinic decision support systems. It uses electronic health data to get a decision-making outline for enhancing the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of different illnesses based on treatment history patterns, health, and demographics.

AI is also widely used in:

Robotic technology

Robotics, like AI, is quickly changing the healthcare landscape. While the history of robots in healthcare dates back to 1985, there have been massive improvements in the area. Thanks to advances in sensor and motion control technologies, robots are way more autonomous and precise than in the age of PUMA 200. They are not only capable of helping but performing complex surgeries themselves.

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The integration of robots into healthcare operations offers a range of benefits:

Robots are widely used in orthopedics and surgery. In 2019, a surgeon leveraged robotics and 5G internet to perform remote surgery on the brain of a Parkinson’s patient who was nearly 1,900 miles away.

This new technology plays a vital role in creating new care models for the growing senior population. It also solves the challenge of delivering quality solutions to new and underserved markets. In both cases, robotics helps facilities to cut down costs. And the best part is that the current robotic systems are pretty impressive. Surgeons can do more operations in comparable time as before, but with higher success rates.

Blockchain

Blockchain is one of the newest and most important technologies in the world. It is a time-stamped series of unchangeable records of information managed by a network of computers instead of a centralized authority.

Blockchain has extensive uses and applications in healthcare:

Ledger technology can also help manage and prevent future pandemics. This is especially critical, considering how COVID-19 has put the healthcare system to its greatest test of the century. Healthcare systems have had a challenge storing and circulating data in real-time. But now, the CDC in collaboration with IBM and WHO is set to use blockchain to monitor, store, and distribute sensitive data in real-time to facilities for effective and uniform management of the virus.

Other common uses of blockchain technology in healthcare include ownership and security of digital assets, fixing digital display advertising and changing data collections.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

IoMT refers to all medical devices and applications that can connect to the health care data technology system using the internet. The technology facilitates the transition from reactive-to-preventative patient-oriented care.

The IoMT sector is fast-growing and has multiple innovations underway. From patient diagnostic machines to smart monitors, radical solutions are being created to take care of the health care challenges.

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According to Deloitte, the IoMT market is projected to hit the $158.1 billion mark in 2022. Some common uses of IoMT include:

Virtual reality and Augmented Reality 

From improving the patient experience to changing the way medical students learn, these new technologies transform the way things are done in hospitals. Virtual and augmented reality technologies have the potential to make surgical planning easier. Even the most experienced surgeon may come across surprises when performing surgery. But virtual reality and augmented reality may make those instances less common.

The ability to see the inside of the human body in VR is useful to patients and doctors alike. VR allows surgeons to educate patients about their surgical plan. This enhances the understanding of treatment, leading to more patient satisfaction.

Additionally, VR has the unique ability to transport patients to an entirely different place. So, doctors use it to create robust simulations of scenarios where psychological difficulties happen. This cuts out the need for therapists to accompany patients on a trip to a tall building or market place for real-life situations. Other AR/VR uses include:

Personalized mobile applications

Mobile apps are not only great for patient engagement but monitoring and treatment as well. There are vast patient scenarios that use mobile apps in 2020. For instance, one can schedule appointments, check-in, upload medical records, or even get test results through apps.

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Apps help hospitals reduce operational costs, thanks to their ability to relieve some pressure on caregivers, receptionist duties and waiting times. Other common uses of apps include communication and healthcare marketing – helping hospitals get in front of customers. And with the widespread use of mobile devices, app use is only set to increase in the coming years.

Precision medicine

Precision medicine is a new hospital technology that allows doctors to select therapies and medicines to treat patients based on their medical and genetic make-up. Personalization makes treatment more effective. It attacks problem areas (like tumors) based on the patient’s specific proteins and genes. This makes it easy for cancer to be destroyed by treatment.

Other than cancer treatment, precision medicine is also effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It uses the same mechanism to destroy RA's vulnerable genes, weakening the disease and reducing symptoms.

3D printing

3D printers are among the newest technologies on the market today. Experts use these printers to create implants and joints used in surgeries. 3D prosthetics are especially popular, thanks to their unprecedented levels of comfort and mobility. These solutions are usually highly personalized, thus match up the patient’s exact measurements. Other uses of 3D printing in healthcare include printing pills containing multiple drugs and even creating human cells and tissue.

 

6 Products To Get You Through COVID Liability

Businesses worldwide face challenges, including lawsuits, as they struggle with the way that the novel Coronavirus has disrupted their operations, supply chains, and workforces. The litigation wave is gaining momentum, and from the look of it, no industry is immune. With that in mind, we will examine some products to get you through COVID liability concerns in this article.

Employers across the country are facing lawsuits by Coronavirus victim and their families. These victims and their loved ones contend that workplaces failed to implement measures to ensure safety on the job. Meat processing plants, nursing homes, and cruise ship operators have been sued the most during the crisis. Other companies like Amazon, McDonalds, Safeway, and Walmart have also faced charges alleging they did not do enough to protect employees.

Of course, most employers argue that they have enforced all the recommended guidelines to ensure workplace safety. They have attempted to educate and promote good hygiene and infection control practices to prevent exposure on the job. Some even remark that it’s impossible to know where or how their staff contracted the virus, considering it is in the community.

But still, COVID-19 lawsuits are ripe, and employers ought to be careful. The last thing that one wants to deal with, on top of the thinning profit margins, is costly legal fees, among other expenses that a lawsuit attracts. Indeed, COVID-19 suits may not form the basis of personal injury cases. After all, the victim may not prove that the employer passed the infection to them. With the virus widespread in so many communities and easily transmitted, this level of proof is nearly impossible.

However, this doesn’t mean that employers won’t face the consequences if they act negligently or recklessly during the ongoing public health crisis. Bad choices during these times of declared emergencies can expose them to legal problems. To minimize the pandemic's impact on workers, businesses, customers, and the public, employers need to plan adequately and integrate effective products, some of which we will discuss in this article. Before we do that, let’s ensure that we are on the same page regarding COVID-19 in workplaces.

Workplace Coronavirus exposure

The COVID-19 virus is a respiratory illness that’s easily passed from person to person. The virus has spread quickly across the US, with 10.4 million cases and 244,044 deaths reported by November 9, 2020. Although many people have lost their jobs, some are left with no choice but to work amidst workplace COVID-19 exposure fears. Employees deserve protection from the virus at work. Employers are required to take measures to protect staff from potential exposures.

With that in mind, let’s now look at how you can protect your employees. We’ll do this by listing 6 products to get you through COVID liability.

1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

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PPE supplies are critical for preventing specific COVID-19 exposure – mainly when used alongside other prevention strategies that we’ll discuss in this article. Examples of PPE supplies are face shields, goggles, face masks, gloves, and respiratory protection. Recommendations for PPE specific to job or occupation may change based on current risk assessment for employees, geographical location, and information on its effectiveness in preventing the virus's spread.

As an employer, you should keep checking the CDC and OSHA websites for the latest recommendations of PPEs. In a nutshell, PPE supplies should be:

2. Disinfecting tunnels

wytcote disinfectant portal
wytcote disinfectant portal

Disinfecting tunnels (or sanitizing tunnels) are placed at the entrances and exits of commercial buildings to fog/spray sanitizer or disinfectant onto those entering or leaving the building. So, someone goes through a semi-enclosed area, pauses for several seconds for disinfection before entering the building.

The reasoning behind disinfecting tunnels is that, since the Coronavirus is a contagious illness, disinfecting a person’s clothes and body can protect them from contracting the virus. Spraying helps contain the pathogen’s spread.

There are many concerns about the effectiveness and safety of these tunnels. A WHO report even warned against their use because of the chemical disinfectants used. According to the report, spraying people with chlorine and other dangerous chemicals could lead to skin and eye irritation. Luckily, not all disinfecting tunnels are created equally. Some use a specially formulated solution that sanitizes individuals without affecting their physical or physiological health.

3. Sanitizing lighting

Sanitizing lighting is a great product that can help save you from potential COVID liability. It uses nanometer light to deactivate and destroy bacteria and other micro-organisms. The UVC lights (or LED in some cases) excites certain molecules in disease-causing micro-organism through photo-activation. This produces reactive oxygen species that destroy and kill the harmful cells.

UVC, a type of Ultraviolet light, is effective at killing viruses, including the SARS-CoV-2. A study by the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) revealed that exposure to UVC light completely inactivated the Coronavirus in nine minutes.

4. COVID test kits 

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The COVID test kits allow you to perform routine internal Coronavirus testing. This means that your employees won’t have to go to the hospital to get their tests done. Having test kits handy can ensure that any case is discovered on time, thus avoiding further spread. This is especially critical during an emergency.

The good thing about COVID-19 test kits is that they are first, accurate, and convenient. You only need to be careful to find a trusted dealer – one who’s kits have Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), been independently validated, and with specificity and sensitivity of at least 95%.

5. Check-in kiosk

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wytcote kiosk

check-in kiosk is a fully automated hands-free self-check kiosk designed to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. For instance, in an airport or booking office situation, the booth allows people to scan and print their tags without touching anything other than their phones. A self-service kiosk in any environment can minimize in-person interaction, lowering the risk of transmission of virus between employees and guests or patients.

Before the pandemic, clients would walk right to the reception or front desk. But this is considered a risky practice now. A check-in kiosk minimizes the risk by negating the person-to-person interaction. When a client walks in, their first stop becomes the kiosk. They can then scan their ID or insurance card or even update information like email, phone number, and address at the booth.

Installing a check-in kiosk is a great way to show your team and other related parties that you have strengthened your hygiene protocol. These kiosks also allow you to monitor everyone who enters the facility and ensure that the workplace remains COVID-19 free.

6. Wellness kits

Wellness kits provide your employees with items for well-being. The kits include hand sanitizer, face coverings, stress ball, sleep kit, and more. Note that these items may vary depending on where you got your kits from.

 

Can You Tell When a Senior Care Facility is Understaffed?

When you have a loved one who is elderly, you want to do everything to ensure they are cared for and comfortable. But since senior care is often long-term, you may not be able to be there at all times. Luckily, there are ways to still care for your loved one, even when you are not around. You can hire at-home care services or opt to enroll them in an assisted living or board home. But when a senior care facility is understaffed, there are many problems you should look out for.

If you go the senior living homes route, you should know that many facilities are not the same. They vary based on a range of aspects, including the type of foodservice, housing style, number of residents, extra amenities and cost. Licensed facilities offer the basics of all meals, laundry, housekeeping, recreational activities, transportation to appointments and errands, and wellness and exercise programs. They also provide daily living and medical help.

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By and large, senior living homes offer older adults the compassionate and accurate medical care they need. But still, these facilities are not created equally. Some provide better care than others. That’s why many people worry about the level of care their loved one will get while at a facility.

Some common concerns that many residents and their loved ones cite about their senior care facility include:

These issues arise due to many reasons. However, understaffing seems to be at the center of it all. Senior care services can only run efficiently if they have adequate staff for all duties. Again, staff can only offer the best standard of care if they are supported by others and are working as a team.

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Understaffed senior care facilities typically have fatigued, over-worked employees. This might lead to some very real safety concerns and problems with overall care for their residents.

The problems with a senior care facility being understaffed

When a facility faces staff shortage, responsibilities are dropped, certain duties are neglected and inevitably, the standards of care go down. This is because caregivers are forced to prioritize some residents’ needs over others. Over time, this neglect can result in long-term failure to offer basic needs.

When a senior living home is understaffed, it creates a hostile and stressful environment for both residents and the employees. The team may even become bitter and disgruntled. Members may feel ill-equipped and unsupported to do their job.

Experts believe that majority of bad outcomes arise from insufficient staffing. A low resident to staff ratio may translate to missing serious problems. It may also mean a staff member taking out their frustration on residents.

Abuse and neglect tend to worsen as the resident to staff ratio increases. The abuse and neglect by the caregiver can cause physical illnesses, psychological problems and even death among the residents.

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Abuse and neglect are very serious problems at an understaffed senior care facility.

Seniors are dependent upon the caregivers for their eating, bathing, and medications. But understaffing makes it hard for the caregivers to feed and give all residents medicines on a routine schedule. This can result in nutrition deficiencies, malnutrition, and other complications. Again, when the caregivers have less time to attend to each patient, they might become irritable and end up using unnecessary force when dealing with their residents.

How to tell when an assisted living home is understaffed

According to research, 95% of nursing facilities in America are understaffed. But it’s important to note that what constitutes adequate staffing levels for these homes differ from state to state. So you must watch closely and ensure that your loved one is safe and well-cared for in a home. With that in mind, here are some tell-tale signs that a senior living facility is understaffed.

Decreased employee productivity 

When a senior home is understaffed, you will most certainly see disgruntled and tired workers. Irrespective of how hard the team works, it is hard for a skeleton crew to function at the same efficiency level as a full team. Understaffed facilities lack the manpower to meet the needs of every resident. This raises the residents’ stress levels and causes dissatisfaction.

Lower employee morale

In addition to reduced productivity, you’ll also notice that the caregivers and staff have lower morale. When the team is unhappy, they find it hard to do their jobs correctly and deliver the performance expected in the role. For instance, an unhappy nurse may not issue medications or feed all residents as they are supposed to. He or she may also not reposition a resident after a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, this may cause bedsores and other health issues, especially among those restrained on bed or in wheelchairs.

Too many complaints

Even the best senior homes will still have complaints. However, when the senior care facility is understaffed, you may notice that the complaints are overwhelming. Since the staff has exceptionally high workloads, they may not be in a position to respond quickly to residents’ demands. So residents will always feel as though their needs aren’t met. You may also notice that your loved one tries to do things by themselves – like lifting equipment – because it’s somehow what they are used to doing in your absence.

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At an understaffed facility, many residents are on their own for even some basic needs.

Sudden weight loss

Your loved one might lose weight because of underlying health conditions. But negligence on the part of a tired, overworked caregiver can also cause the resident’s weight loss. If your elderly patient loses a considerable amount of weight within a short time, it could be that they aren’t receiving adequate care in their assisted living facility. It could be that they are not eating well, or they are missing medication and so on. They may also be emotionally drained from everything that’s happening around them.

Evident discontent with a staff member

Sometimes, you may notice that your loved one dislikes, or even rants about a staff member. In some cases, the discontent might be fuelled by the staff’s attitude or action towards them. Caregivers who have too much pressure from their work demands might neglect their duties or even abuse residents physically or psychologically.

Your loved one tells you

This is perhaps the easiest way to tell that a facility is understaffed. Your loved one stays in the facility and they have a good idea of what goes on when you are away. They may not tell you directly that the facility doesn’t have adequate staff, but you might hear them complain, or say things like “no one helps me do this,” or “medicine is always late,” and so on. You can also ask them if you suspect understaffing or related problems at the nursing home facility.

Are COVID Antibody Test Kits Worth It?

Medical diagnostic companies are racing to produce antibody testing kits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments, on the other hand, are looking to order these antibody tests kits by millions.

The challenge that national regulators and governments are facing is to strike a balance between the urgency and the day-to-day specificity and sensitivity concerns that apply to any new medical diagnostic. There are still some concerns around optimizing test design, mainly hinging on understanding the virus' behavior and neutralizing it. Yet, there's an underlying rush to limit the economic impact, to reopen borders and to resume to normal routines.

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Some national regulators like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have already issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) that allows companies to start selling testing kits right away. At the moment, the FDA has approved 25 antibody tests. Health Canada has approved only one antibody test.

Antibody (serology) testing

Following the relaxation of standard assessment criteria by the regulatory bodies, companies are now rushing to produce antibody testing kits to meet the demand. The antibody test kits can be used for a range of reasons, including:

Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can offer protection against recurrence (immunity). The serological test kits tests people's blood for Coronavirus antibodies to check whether they have already healed from the virus and if they may have developed immunity to COVID-19.

Matt Hancock, UK health secretary, on March 24, told the daily press conference that his government had purchased 3.5 million tests that would allow individuals to check if they had the virus and had since developed immunity to it so that they could get back to work. However, these China-made kits were deemed not fit for widespread use. The UK government, on May 14, approved the use of 100% accurate antibody tests, which were produced by Roche, a Swiss company.

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The accuracy of COVID antibody test kits

The accuracy of COVID antibody test kits depends on a range of factors, including the duration between the onset of infection and test execution, types of antibody being assessed, and antigen specificity. Since the immune system often begins to produce antibodies within 1 to 3 weeks of a person being exposed to the virus, doing a test soon after exposure may not detect antibodies in the blood. As such, there are higher chances of getting false-negative or false-positive results.

Another factor that may affect the accuracy of the test result is cross-reactivity. Antibody tests meant explicitly for the novel Coronavirus can cross-react with related viruses like MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and common Coronavirus and therefore give false negative or positive results.

The positive and negative predictive values are computed using a test's specificity, its sensitivity, as well as the assumption about the percentage of people in the population who have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. However, those interpreting results need also to consider details like diagnostic test results and clinical history to avoid false results.

So, this leads us to the big question, are COVID antibody test kits worth it?

Reasons why Coronavirus antibody tests are worth the investment

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Demonstrated specificity and sensitivity

Most kits that are approved by the regulatory bodies claim to have 98-100% specificity and sensitivity. 100% specificity means that the test won't confuse other antibodies for those specific to SARS-CoV-2. 99% sensitivity, on the other hand, means that when the kit examines 100 blood samples containing the antibodies, it will detect the antibodies 99% of the time. The Roche kits, for instance, claim 100% sensitivity and 99.8% specificity.

Can help identify potential antibody donors

As we mentioned earlier on, one of the most important current use of COVID antibody test kits – en masse – is to help identify the part of the population that's been exposed previously to the virus, irrespective of whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. The test also shows those who have developed herd immunity after infection. This group could be a potential convalescent donor. Convalescent plasma is where blood plasma from patients who have had previous infections is artificially transferred to naïve patients to induce passive immunity.

But still, experts say that people shouldn't change any social distancing or other safety practices based on their serological test results because it's not sure whether these antibodies confer immunity or if they're likely to change clinical management. Later on, when vaccines are available, serology testing will facilitate the tracking of the immune response of those who are part of clinical trials.

People can go back to work

Experts argue that immunity-based licenses are great because they would free up those who've already contracted the disease without worsening the situation for those who haven't. Licenses are a less restrictive alternative. The current liberty-limiting measures on travel, work, and gatherings are justified because COVID-19 positive individuals may infect others, causing more deaths, illnesses, and strain on hospitals. However, these measures aren't justified when applied to those who carry little to no risk of infection.

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Quick results

A widely available test that delivers results in minutes would drastically change the world's strategy for dealing with COVID-19 as well as the way people live. People would be able to go back to work sooner if they are aware of their infection status. In a nutshell, using the COVID-19 antibody kits involves:

Curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus

When more Coronavirus diagnostic tests are available, those who test positive can get early care, especially if it's symptomatic. Besides, their contacts can be traced and placed in quarantine or self-isolation to prevent further spread. COVID antibody kits make contact tracing easier, which is a big plus to preventing further spread of the virus.

What is AI Up To in Healthcare & Research?

Major technology companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Google are investing in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for healthcare, research and beyond. There's also a steady rise in the number of medical AI startups firms joining in. This leaves us wondering, what is AI up to in healthcare and research, and why the growing interest in the area?

Artificial Intelligence techniques have sent huge waves across the healthcare industry, even driving conversations of whether AI robots will eventually replace human doctors in the future. Doctors essentially do three things: diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. All three core duties are being performed by AI systems that employ deep learning, machine learning, time series forecasting, and natural language processing.

AI systems are showing up and ready for prime time. They can now diagnose common pediatric illnesses, identify abnormal chest x-rays, and assess mental health. AI can also detect eye disease early on, perform surgery, carry out different front-office tasks, and analyze lymph node slides in pathology. And although AI in healthcare is still work in progress, a few things are clear:

But in as much as there are anxieties about AI replacing radiologists or robots taking jobs in pharma or surpassing the skills of surgeons, the truth is that AI isn't likely to fully replace the human aspect any time soon. Industry experts love to think of AI as an empowerment tool – one that offers perspective. Although AI can assist with diagnosis, treatment, and basic clinical trials, it's hard to imagine automated brain operation, for instance, where doctors have to adjust their plans once they open up the patient.

AI can help doctors collect and analyze data for their patients, in real-time. This can increase the accuracy of diagnoses and help reduce human errors made in regards to medical decisions.

What is Artificial Intelligence in healthcare?

AI in healthcare involves the use of complex algorithms and software to mimic the intelligent behavior of humans in the analysis, interpretation and comprehension of complex healthcare data. AI systems can execute tasks that need human intelligence to complete, like image analysis, speech pattern recognition and decision making. The algorithms are effective for automating repetitive tasks and they can outperform humans in tasks they are trained to perform.

What is AI up to in healthcare?

AI and diseases like asthma

Consider what Artificial Intelligence is doing in asthma treatment. Asthma affects 1 in 12 children. Doctors use conventional methods – like checking for wheezing – to diagnose asthma. They ask parents or caregivers to remember how often they administer drugs to their children. They ask about the triggers and whether the child is exposed to smokes at home. In some cases, the doctor analyzes the health data to determine the number of refills or emergency room visits (if any) that the child has had. But all this is just retrospective knowledge with no predictive analytics or proactive strategy.

Although clinical signs of asthma are easy to identify, the condition is much more complex at the cellular and molecular level. The enzymes, proteins, genes, and other asthma triggers are highly diverse. AI allows doctors to diagnose asthma before the patient suffers a few bouts of wheezing. It does so by comparing blood test results against the cellular and molecular markers. This time-saving intelligence frees the doctor's time, so they can focus on patient care during appointments.

AI and clinical care

AI technology is helping doctors and other medical providers make important healthcare decisions with a greater level of accuracy.

AI technology can help the diagnosis of diseases and is currently being used for this reason in hospitals around the globe. Using this technology to research publications and evaluate clinical data could guide doctors in making the right clinical decisions regarding treatment. Potential applications of Artificial Intelligence in clinical care are as follows:

Medical imaging: The technology has shown promising results in detecting eye conditions, pneumonia, and skin and breast cancers. According to a post on The Journal of Medical Health, AI can accelerate the diagnostic process and offer targeted effective treatment. It goes on to state that since radiologists depend on images they've seen before, or experiences they've had in their line of work, they might have a hard time interpreting something different that they've never seen or experienced in their practice.

Machine learning allows them to compare unfamiliar images against large global databanks to get insights on disease trajectory, diagnosis, and treatment options. Machine learning can offer more data by combining different data sources like genomic and longitudinal data along with individual electronic health records.

Robotic Surgery: Surgical adjuncts like image guidance and microscopes give surgeons a physical or mechanical advantage and allow for faster and accurate operations with fewer errors and improved outcomes. Surgical robots can control the depth, trajectory, and speed of movements with great precision. They are particularly effective for procedures that need the same, repetitive movements (like tying knots to close wounds) as they can remain completely still without getting tired.

Screening for neurological conditions: researchers have developed an AI system that can detect different acute neurological conditions in CT scans within seconds. Conditions like hemorrhage, stroke, and hydrocephalus can now be identified quickly with deep learning than through human diagnosis.

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Devices, connected with IoT technology can gather all necessary data about a patient. This data can be fed to an AI interface and analyzed in real-time to help healthcare providers make important decisions with greater insight.

Patient and consumer-facing applications

Patients and medical professionals are taking advantage of vast AI-powered technologies to manage health remotely. From Bluetooth-enabled scales to wearable heart monitors, these medical devices take the patients' health measurements and send these data to doctors to facilitate real-time healthcare decisions. Remote patient tracking technologies automatically monitor and report on patients, often with chronic illnesses so doctors can keep tabs on them - even though virtually. This is made possible in conjunction with Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Artificial intelligence and medical research

By integrating machine learning to clinical workflows, researchers can perform tasks with greater speed and more accuracy, allowing front-line medical professionals to deliver more effective treatments to patients.

Additionally, AI gives researchers the ability to identify complex associations within datasets faster and more precisely than has been previously possible. In a Stanford study, AI offered a dermatologist-level classification of skin cancer with deep neural networks.

According to this post, the ICGC is profiling up to 20,000 cancer patients at the moment. The organization will combine real-time cancer information on the 350,000 new cases annually England, together with comprehensive clinical data and more than 11 million historical cancer records. With the help of AI, ICGC will be able to provide the international community with comprehensive genomic data for many cancer types.

Again, researchers at the University of Manchester and Cambridge developed AI-powered robots called "Eve" to help optimize the highly involving and expensive drug discovery process. In 2018, the robot scientist, Eve, discovered that a compound commonly found on toothpaste and soap could be effective in treating drug-resistant malaria.

Conclusion 

The effects of AI in healthcare has caught the attention of public and private sectors alike, driving more investment in its development. In Silicon Valley, tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and IBM continue to make a significant investment in AI, while more health-focused AI startups continue to join in.

Statistics project that the global AI in healthcare market size will grow at a CAGR of 41.5% from 2019-2025. The survey further revealed that the growing value of big data in healthcare, increasing the need for affordable healthcare, rising adoption of precision medicine, and declining hardware and supply chain costs were some factors fueling AI growth.

What is the Future of IoT Supply Chains?

A lot has been written about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its impacts on almost all major industries, including transportation, retail, healthcare, finance, and accounting. But one of the most exciting areas of influence is the global supply chain. The Internet of Things shows its fullest potential in processes like supply chains.

Supply chain analysis requires an understanding that the production of any product is inherently dependent on a series of connections and links. When one, or more of the links are weak – whether due to outdated machinery, transport delays, or human errors – businesses end up with poorly functioning supply chains that are costly, with little returns.

The Internet of Things, through its network sensors, offers the much-needed connection in the supply chain – the link between the physical world and that of data. IoT allows companies to transmit critical data across different channels and break them down using powerful analytics engines to optimize any given supply chain component, that helps drive better decisions.

IoT Solutions in Supply Chain Management

Organization and efficiency are two main factors that tend to determine failure or success. If an enterprise can’t locate goods within its system quickly, create delivery schedules efficiently, monitor inventory effectively, or maintain equipment properly, it’s likely to suffer. But the good thing is that organization and efficiency are two areas where IoT excels.

IoT is a collection of interconnected devices that can track, report on, send, and exchange data. These devices (smart devices, chips, mobile sensors, and RFIDs) are linked to computer systems through Wi-Fi or data networks and use sensors to measure different environmental factors, including temperature, location, light levels, handling, movement, humidity, and speed movement. They also automate processes, minimizing human errors.

IoT systems allow businesses to:

IoT-enabled devices are increasingly being implemented to improve the visibility of logistic operations. For example, sensors can be installed in fleets for to offer real-time monitoring updates of transportation and delivery. They also are ideal for asset tracking and fleet management. With this technology in retail outlets and warehouses, there will be more visibility in production, inventory management, and predictive maintenance.

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When connected to the global supply chain, IoT technology can help companies to track and monitor systems in real-time, allowing them to identify and solve problems before they escalate. Such real-time data can also be helpful for businesses to proactively service client demands, reduce downtime, and increase the supply chain’s overall efficiency. And thanks to improved efficiency and visibility across the supply chain, IoT technology enables companies to optimize their assets and ROI.

The Future of IoT Supply Chains

The concept of taking all of the “things” worldwide and linking them to the internet and each other (by extension) is a technological field that’s bursting with promise. The dawning of the age of the IoT is already influencing how supply chain management is happening. Things like organization, efficiency, and relevance are enhancing operations and service quality, with almost unlimited future potential. Here’s what’s in the future of IoT supply chains:

More Companies Will Join In

From the look of things, IoT is coming of age. Studies reveal that the number of enterprises using IoT applications rose from 13% to 25% from 2014 to 2019. The IDC predicts 13.6% yearly growth through 2022. In another survey, 75% of large manufacturers wanted to update their operations using IoT and analytics-based situational awareness by the end of 2019.

There Will Be More IoT Devices

Gartner predicted that there would be a 30-fold increase in internet-connected physical devices by the end of 2020. The same report indicated that IoT would reach 26 billion installed units by the same year and influence the data available to supply chain leaders and how the supply chain works, based on the industry.   

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Continue to Grow

AI promises a smart new world of computers that can strategize, plan, calculate probabilities, evaluate options, and make the best decisions. Of course, IoT is the body that gives Artificial intelligence’s brain the ability to act. It also offers the information that AI requires to make smart choices. AI will serve a critical role in monitoring, analyzing IoT data, and sieving it into actionable themes. Machine learning, a type of AI that helps IoT devices to learn without someone having to program them, will then allow systems to adjust according to the company’s preferences.

IoT Will Address Vast Concerns

From what we see today, there are numerous reasons why more and more businesses are incorporating IoT into their operations. From the COVID-19 pandemic and political unrest to environmental concerns like weather conditions, fuel costs, etc. All these affect the way the shipping of goods is done globally. Not to mention today’s consumer, who is very specific about how, where, and when they get products. From consumer electronics, to their healthcare, people will turn to IoT and other technologies to navigate different situations.

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IoT supply chain management will completely revolutionize the way industries get their products and services into the marketplace.

5G Networks Will Continue to Drive IoT Growth

5G network was rolled out in 2019, but the coming years will see many companies switch to this incredibly fast network. 5G promises more ability to connect more smart devices at one go. Greater speeds mean the information gathered by the IoT will be analyzed and managed to a higher degree. It will also drive innovation in companies that create IoT devices (like sensors, identity chips, and computing devices) and boost efficiency and organization. Thanks to 5G, billions more IoT devices can be plugged into the global network, according to Ericsson.

There Will be Supply Chain Digitization 

Efforts to connect all systems as well as implement new digital technologies will still be a priority in the future. Digitization in the supply chain creates transparency, eliminates silos, and enhances responsiveness. PwC foresees a digital environment that removes manual processes and offers a single view of the company and all its supply chain operations.

There Will be Plenty of Big Data 

The growth in IoT, along with the digitization of the supply chain, will yield plenty of big data. IoT will prove valuable for supply chain and logistic managers who want to understand consumer behavior and usage patterns, enhance their inventory management and streamline eCommerce.

IoT Will Become Virtually Invisible

IoT solution will become invisible in the future. The real value of IoT lies in the automation and insights that are enabled when one has access to real-time data on all critical aspects of the business. Manual observation will become uncommon because all alerts will be sent to devices. The future of IoT is billions of cheap, small, low-powered devices that offer instant insights into every system, process, and asset that’s critical to supply chain companies. It is ubiquitous, invisible, and primarily driven by notifications.