Post Covid-19: re-imagining life

John Denslinger is a former executive VP Murata, president SyChip Wireless, and president/CEO ECIA, the industry’s trade association. His career spans
40 years in electronics

John Denslinger prepares for more robotics, kiosks, touchless, protection, detection and more re-imagining life as we know it.

My editorial last month dealt with the ‘great American reboot 2020’ where I discussed an onslaught of issues confronting procurement as operations restart. Undoubtedly, those challenges will continue until the virus impact becomes a distant image in the rear-view mirror. As the reboot begins, fresh opportunities are about to be exposed.

In the wake of natural and man-made disasters, it’s human nature finding solutions, implementing effective countermeasures, inventing new products and applying technology in ways not imagined before. Just look at the innovation that happened when the nation issued a crisis call for N95 masks, face shields, ventilators, sanitizers, protective clothing, swabs, test kits, faster testing processes and vaccines. With little fanfare, manufacturers big and small responded in droves producing products and services atypical of their normal business. No words can express our admiration for these unsung American heroes.

All this to say, the virus has made it abundantly clear a sweeping change is underway. In the post Covid-19 world, many of our daily activities and personal interactions must be modified, fortified or re-designed for a healthier peace-of-mind. This is the silver lining I see ahead for manufacturers of electronic components, products and systems. Just think of the areas for re-imagining.

Medical care administered via tele-health 24/7/365 to our vulnerable elderly, at-risk and handicapped individuals in nursing homes or other isolated locations. Productivity augmentation for tele-commute workers especially in the areas of communications and connectivity. Hygiene assurance everywhere via more hands-free options. Devices that surveil continuously for proper sanitization and contaminate free surfaces. Temperature scanning of employees, customers and individuals attending typical gathering spots from large stadiums to small local establishments. Social distance shadowing both ground-based and airborne. Robust data collection and notification systems for contact tracing. Quick/reliable virus testing and diagnostics. Digital solutions that eliminate currency transactions. In general, more robotics, more kiosks, more touchless, more protection, more detection, more re-imagining life as we know it.

Ingenuity is a beautiful thing. Quite honestly, the applications mentioned above are not totally unknown to most: it’s the immediate scale and scope of need that will shock the industry. Each of these opportunities require electronic components. Besides the foundational capacitors, resistors, semis and connectors, demand will be strong for IoT devices, sensors of all types, RFID tags, wireless communications, low power multi-point networks, power supplies, and displays. As for devices, the leaders will be smart phones, servers and scanners. On the systems end, it will be 5G deployment, ultra-high speed broadband and GPS that seamlessly connect it all.

The pandemic heightened public’s awareness of everyday personal health and safety risks. Lives were upended. Pocketbooks depleted. A tolerance for future mass quarantines seems unlikely. The public expects more. While the US Congress debates a massive infrastructure bill to revitalize the economy, businesses should heed the public’s concern and revitalize their own surroundings. As a society, we are blessed with great technology, exceptional products and the wherewithal to create a safe and secure environment for everyone. That’s re-imagining life.