By Nadir Ali, CEO, Inpixon
The world has changed forever, and the impact of COVID-19 has become particularly visible across the finance industry. As evidenced by the loss of 20.6 million jobs since mid-March, the unemployment rate reaching 14.7% — a level not seen since the Great Depression — and consumer spending dropping by 13.6% in April, it is clear that COVID-19 is taking an unprecedented toll on the overall economy. In these times of turbulence and trepidation, there has never before been greater urgency for the finance industry to innovate and embrace digital transformation initiatives.
Banking on a global scale is beginning to shift in ways that one might consider overdue as the sector is set to face a variety of complex issues in the wake of COVID-19. While the economic impact of the pandemic thus far can be considered quite similar to that of the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, the root cause and implications are vastly different. COVID-19 has shown itself to be a threat to both lives and livelihoods as public health and the economy both suffer in the face of large-scale unemployment and lower consumer spending.
It is in this space, however, that COVID-19 has become the unlikely catalyst for digital transformation, and it is in adversity that we find opportunities to innovate and thrive. Despite the many voices sounding alarms, the finance sector is fully capable of surviving and coming out stronger in the future if it seizes this opportunity to innovate. Embracing indoor intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), particularly contact tracing and physical distancing technology, stands out as a critical initiative for financial institutions to address some of their key challenges.
Helping organizations build employee confidence and bring their people back to work safely is integral to getting the economy moving again. To that end, contact tracing is one of the initiatives that shows promise for helping to ease the strain on many industries, including the finance sector. As workplaces around the world begin to reopen, organizations are exploring ways to prevent future flare-ups and keep employees safe and healthy in the long term. There may be times where social distancing and workplace cleaning processes are unable to prevent someone in an office from getting sick. If that should happen, it’s important for the organization to be able to activate contact tracing protocols in order to try prevent further spread.
Contact tracing helps organizations to make their workplaces safer spaces by capturing the movement of visitors and employees within buildings. These organizations are then able to leverage this data to identify areas where infected individuals previously visited in order to perform targeted cleaning or to notify others that may have been exposed. This data-oriented, digital contact tracing mitigates many of the inherent flaws with traditional contact tracing interviews, which rely heavily on memory and are subject to human error. Being able to identify someone’s movements throughout a building over a predetermined prior time period would greatly help support that process, and speed up the contact tracing process dramatically.
Contact tracing can be an important component of the finance industry’s digital transformation. The technological foundations that power workplace readiness solutions like contact tracing for corporate offices will undoubtedly have lasting benefits for public health and indoor experiences. The same location-aware technologies that are primed to help keep people safe and support workplace readiness initiatives lay the groundwork for other smart building solutions down the road, kickstarting global transformation across an industry in turmoil.
Indoor intelligence can also enable businesses to monitor social distancing compliance and to measure occupancy rates and overcrowding. These technology solutions, designed to help keep people safe, will also invariably improve workplace operations, employee experiences and retention rates, and most importantly, get people back to work in a safe and sustainable manner. Managing spread in the workplace helps manage it in the community.
As an industry that typically employs 6.3 million Americans, the magnitude of the decisions made by the financial sector is immense. In choosing to adopt workplace readiness technology, starting with digital contact tracing, the sector may not only come out of this crisis stronger than before but also will set the standard for workplace safety and digital transformation.
Nadir Ali is CEO of Inpixon (inpixon.com, Nasdaq:INPX). Inpixon provides a suite of Workplace Readiness(™) tools as part of its Indoor Intelligence(™) Platform.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.