It's no question that COVID-19 has been a major catalyst of digital innovation.
The pandemic has exposed weaknesses in how governments and businesses deliver goods and services. Access to quality data and the ability to use it has been vital. Lack of information about the movement of people and ways to collect it made it harder, for example, to develop an effective test and trace system. However, supermarkets detailed understanding of their customers and supply chains kept shelves stocked. Detailed insight about how COVID-19 impacted different people informed the successful UK roll-out of the vaccine.
Breed Reply, we are a long-term believer in the benefits of optimising technology, especially IoT, to solve real-world problems. We invest in a portfolio of growing companies leading the way in the digital revolution across various industries and sectors.
Looking back at 2020 and all that it encompassed, from the speed of vaccine development to home working normalisation, we asked some of our portfolio companies to share their thoughts on 2020. One common theme became apparent: Data is going to be critical in the post-pandemic era. Read what they had to say below:
Dan Hubert, Founder of AppyWay, which provides Kerbside management solutions that enable intelligent mobility, better connecting cities with people and businesses:
"The pandemic showed the need for better logistics and data. Companies needed better data to be able to deliver services. The likes of Ocado had backlogs of several weeks. The crisis also revealed how paper-based much of Government is and exposed the need for digital transformation across the public sector. The need for intelligence from big data became paramount as occupancy data from our sensors was supplied to the Department of Transport to allow Government to understand if people across the country were abiding by lockdown measures.”
Tim Antos, Founder and CEO of Kokoon, the intelligent sleep headphones designed for ultimate comfort and to improve sleep quality:
"One of the biggest things we see now as we enter a new era of personalised medicine is the prevalence of real-world data on conditions such as sleep, stress and relaxation. Technology companies such as ours are now taking these insights and data and making better uses of them. We believe that 2021 will bring a new wave of not only tracking data but leveraging these data sources to make smarter uses of it and apply them towards real-life health challenges."
Simon Kampa, CEO, Senseye the leading predictive maintenance solution to help cut unplanned downtime in the industry:
"One of the pandemic impacts is that it has exposed productivity weakness. In the long-term, this is good for our business as it will make customers look towards technology. If machine downtime was terrible a year ago, now it is a critical problem because there is no flex in the system. During the pandemic, we have seen the inability of supply chains to meet their quota targets. Economies must adapt and become stronger."
"The biggest challenge for industry 4.0 is how do you get data to the end solutions in the right form? What data do you extract in what appropriate shape or value then send it to whatever IoT application? We find issues with our users because our customers do not have the knowledge or experience to do this.”
Stephan Noller, CEO, UBIRCH, which secures IoT sensors with Blockchain technology:
"The combination of IoT and AI will boost the possibilities for data-driven business models even more. AI will take more and more automated critical business decisions based on their input data. Those AI decisions can only be trusted, if the data they have used for the decision is trustworthy. Therefore, trust in data – the fact the AI received authentic and immutable data – is crucial. UBIRCH can help to build trust in data and deliver it in a scalable and deployable manner."
Over the past 12 months, we've witnessed the digital agenda become vastly accelerated - It's no longer a question of when, but how will countries, businesses and economies worldwide make better use of data as we enter a new era of digital transformation.