‘Internet of Things’ can help fight COVID-19 – NITDA

National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA)
National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA)

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) says deploying Internet of Things (IoT) can help countries affected by the coronavirus respond to the pandemic better.

In a statement marking the celebration of the World Internet of Things (IoT) Day, the agency said IoT can aide governments and medical personnel in ensuring compliance to stay at home orders as well as diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

The statement signed by NITDA’s spokesperson, Hadiza Umar, recalls that IoT Council in 2010 set aside the 9th April to commemorate the IoT technology.

The use of the technology, according to the agency, can help minimise contact between cases and health workers, thereby minimising attendant risks.

“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.”

NITDA said it is making efforts at creating opportunities for the adoption of innovative IoT solutions to address Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges in different sectors of the economy.

Read the full text of the statement below:

NITDA Advises on the Potentials of Internet of Things (IoT) in Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic As the World Celebrates IoT Day

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) joins the global community in celebrating the World Internet of Things (IoT) Day. The IoT Council in 2010 set aside the 9th April of every year 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 capability of IoT in the transformation of nations, communities, manufacturing, businesses and individual’s lives. 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. 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 data is then forwarded to central cloud servers for intelligence mining and analytics.

The significance of IoT, particular in this trying time of the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 into the loss of my medical doctors and other healthcare workers through physical contact with the infected persons. This therefore means that virtual treatments and interactions can go a long way in safeguarding the precious lives of our healthcare workers.

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. 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.

NITDA is making progressive efforts at creating opportunities for the adoption of innovative IoT solutions to address the country’s socio-economic challenges in different sectors of the economy. Such efforts have empowered some staff of the Agency to publish papers in international journals on IoT architecture and diversification of Nigeria’s economy through the adoption of IoT for smart and precision agriculture. The Nigeria Smart Initiatives (NSI) project by NITDA and being promoted through Nigeria Smart Initiatives Policy Framework (NSIPF) is being supported by the published IoT architecture.

Adaptation of the IoT architecture is also being used to implement one of the Agency’s key smart-enabled projects in the Agriculture sector tagged “NITDA Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA)”. NAVSA is an ecosystem and data-driven agriculture platform developed to practically accelerate the achievement of Government’s policy objectives in agriculture productivity and food security; food exportation; economic diversification; and jobs creation for sustainable national development. The Agency has also developed an IoT hardware platform in the like of Raspberry pi and Arduino that can support the development of different smart solutions. The UnityBoard version is designed an an embedded AI / IoT STEAM Education Kit and was launched during the 39th edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEXT), 2019 in Dubai, UAE. It was also presented to the National Council on Communication and Digital Economy (NCCDE) in December 2019 for adoption as training kit to promote technology education at all levels in Nigeria.

Therefore, we have every cause to celebrate IoT day with the rest of the world. As we commemorate this all-important day, NITDA is calling on the Nigerian youth and the key practitioners in ICT industry to be prepared to take their rightful places to promote IoT technologies in Nigeria. We are confident that the Nigerian Tech Community has the capacity to harness the potentials of IoT in developing solutions to help in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as well as help in cushioning the economic impact of the pandemic. All citizens and residents are advised to remain safe, stay and work from home and innovate while enjoying the 2020 World IoT Day.

The 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.

Signed:
Mrs Hadiza Umar, MNIPR, M.APRA, MCIPR
Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations
Corporate Headquarters, Garki, Abuja
Website: www.nitda.gov.ng, e-mail: info@nitda.gov.ng



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