As COVID-19 hounds the world, the common cause of finding a swift solution to manage the pandemic has brought together researchers, institutions, governments, and society at large. The Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) — including Machine Learning (ML) and Big Data analytics — as well as Robotics and Blockchain, are the four decisive areas of technological innovation that have been ingenuity harnessed to fight this pandemic and future ones. While these highly interrelated smart and connected health technologies cannot resolve the pandemic overnight and may not be the only answer to the crisis, they can provide greater insight into the disease and support frontline efforts to prevent and control the pandemic. This paper provides a blend of discussions on the contribution of these digital technologies, propose several complementary and multidisciplinary techniques to combat COVID-19, offer opportunities for more holistic studies, and accelerate knowledge acquisition and scientific discoveries in pandemic research. First, four areas where IoT can contribute are discussed, namely, i) tracking and tracing, ii) Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) by Wearable IoT (WIoT), iii) Personal Digital Twins (PDT), and iv) real-life use case: ICT/IoT solution in Korea. Second, the role and novel applications of AI are explained, namely: i) diagnosis and prognosis, ii) risk prediction, iii) vaccine and drug development, iv) research dataset, v) early warnings and alerts, vi) social control and fake news detection, and vii) communication and chatbot. Third, the main uses of robotics and drone technology are analyzed, including i) crowd surveillance, ii) public announcements, iii) screening and diagnosis, and iv) essential supply delivery. Finally, we discuss how Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs), of which blockchain is a common example, can be combined with other technologies for tackling COVID-19.


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Firouzi, F., Farahani, B., Daneshmand, M., Grise, K., Song, J., Saracco, R., Wang, L., Lo, K., Angelov, P., Soares, E., Loh, P., Talebpour, A., Romeo, L., Das, R., Heidari, H., Pasquale, D., Moody, J., Woods, C., Huang, E., Barnaghi, P., Sarrafzadeh, M., Li, R., Beck, K., Isayev, O., Sung, N. & Luo, A. 2021, 'Harnessing the power of smart and connected health to tackle COVID-19: IoT, AI, robotics, and blockchain for a better world', IEEE Internet of Things Journal. https://doi.org/10.1109/JIOT.2021.3073904

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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