IILM College of Engineering and Technology

Coronavirus (COVID-19) & its Impact on the Global Economy

The coronavirus which surfaced in seafood & poultry market in China in Dec-19 , has proliferated in other parts of the world and has infected more than 192 countries. The impact of coronavirus is having a discerning effect on the global economy and has policymakers scrambling around to find the right solution to the enigma that is staring us right in our face. Henceforth, Asia pacific nations such as China & South Korea shows that right policies (Quarantine, Social Distancing & Extensive Testing) can make a difference in fighting the disease & mitigating its effect. However, these measures come with severe economic trade-offs.

Impact on GDP Growth: Worse than Y2008-09

If the economy is growing, that generally indicates more wealth & more jobs. It’s measured by looking at the percentage change in GDP typically over 3 months or 1 year. With countries imposing a quarantine and a lockdown to slow the spread of the virus, world economy is going to grow at its slowest rate since Y2009.  More than 80 countries have some form of travel ban or flight suspension.

Although, it is early to measure the impact of the scourge of Covid-19 on world economy, it would not be far-fetched(Under current situation of lockdown & travel bans) to imagine a recession at least as bad as the great depressions of the Y1929 &Y2008. A laconic look at the nosediving GDP estimates (Exhibit-1) across various economies would corroborate the notion.


Exhibit-1 Once again, it is important to stress that true impact of Covid-19 would depend on how well countries can contain its spread and how well they provide the liquidity to the ailing industries.

Impact on various Sectors:

1. Aviation: IATA, in its recent publication has estimated the total loss to global aviation to be around $113B . During Feb-20, IATA published a report indicating a revenue loss of $29.3B, based on a scenario that would see the impact of coronavirus largely restricted to markets associated with China. However, now the virus has impacted more than 190 countries and hence the total loss is estimated at $113B or 19% of the total revenue of the aviation industry in Y2019.

Global daily flights were down 20% in seven days to March 22nd compared with the same period in previous months reflecting the collapse of travel and tourism as a result of the pandemic.  Many tourism dependent economies face an existential threat.

2. Retail: Retail sales follow a similar pattern &according to data from springboard, daily footfall fell more than 70% in US & Italy on March 18 compared with the same day the year before. Although it is still early to make a pronouncement but the signs are worrying. Even in India, due to lockdown of malls & other shopping centres across the country, there is already a 20% reduction in footfall Y-o-Y . There are 126 malls in eight biggest cities in India and lockdown across India has brought the retail space to a grinding halt.

3. Restaurant & Entertainment: Box Office Mojo is a website that tracks box-office sales. As per its recent report, on the weekend of March 15, cinema booking shrank by two-thirds compared with same period last year . China & Italy, countries with maximum spread of the virus, reported no data for the weekend. US cinema conjured $75.8M in seven days to March 16th, indicating a drop of more than 50% Y-o-Y. Restaurants all across the world have seen a nosediving footfall of diners. Of course, containment of disease is most important at this moment, but retail (Including Restaurant &Entertainment) & aviation would need significant stimulus from governments across the globe.

4. Manufacturing: China is world’s manufacturing hub and therefore a disruption in supply chain was expected after such a lengthy lockdown of China in Jan& Feb-20 . However, the entire situation has been exacerbated by the proliferation of virus in more than 192 countries.PMI (Purchasing managers’ index), in most major economies, has slipped to below 50. Any number below 50 represents contraction.

China’s PMI was 40.3 in Feb-20. Such a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing has hurt economies such as Vietnam, Singapore, Japan & South Korea as these were closely intertwined with the Chinese economy. Although most Chinese factories have started operations but are operating at less than 100% as a lot of the workers are antithetical on returning to work. In addition, spread of the Covid-19 and a subsequent lockdown of various economies will further lead to a slowdown of manufacturing sector.

India is also not immune to such a slowdown. India imports around $74B worth of goods from China and as most Chinese factories are operating at well below their true potential, most Indian manufacturers were struggling to get RM from China. But recent announcement by Indian premier, Mr. Modi, of a lockdown of three weeks starting from 24th March-20 would surely mean that most manufacturing companies would find themselves deep in red as and when they re-open.

One doesn’t need to be a clairvoyant to understand that Y 2020 would surely be a tough year!

https://www.flightradar24.com/data/statistics https://www.spring-board.info/benchmarks/benchmark/daily-footfall


Dr. Purnima Lala Mehta
Department of CSE

Aerial Base Stations: The future of 5G and beyond Cellular Systems in India !! Part II

Matt Richtel in his article on ‘Inauguration crowd will test Cellphone Networks’ in The New York Times, endorsed on the novel concept of Verizon Wireless for deploying the cells on wheels (COWs) and cells on light trucks (COLTs). The main idea of such a mobile deployment was to serve a huge crowd gathering at the event of Presidential inauguration in the United States [1]. This report also mentions that the largest telecom operators in the United States have been asking its subscribers to limit their phone calls and to delay sending photos in lieu of network congestion at sports events, huge gatherings, concerts, etc.

Of late, Indian service providers are facing a difficult challenge in serving the hotspot areas that are usually densely packed by both concrete/brick/stone old structures and potential subscribers, thereby creating a requisite for additional sites to be provided by the service providers. However, mobile users are not static in nature and are often found in motion moving from one place to another. The problem intensifies when such subscribers roam in groups further aggravating the capacity need at every point the group travels. This new concept of group capacity-in-motion with respect to the time is termed as “Place Time Capacity (PTC)” [2]. According to a recent report [3], India’s internet users are expected to reach 627 million in 2019. With such a humongous mobile subscriber count and with India stepping into next telecommunication generation 5G by 2020, the problem of PTC will be further deepened. The network conditions in such situations might be critical, and slight subscriber influx might eventually affect the existing carrier planning planned by respective service providers that are not sufficient to cater them. This situation can lead to network congestion from time to time leading to call drops, handover failures, and slow internet access.

Figure 1 shows the circumstances that trigger the crowd mobility in enormous amount with increased access to the network (internet and regular calls both). The first quadrant of figure 1 shows the terrorist attack on 26/11/2008 in Taj Hotel, Mumbai, India that created panic among people both inside and outside the vicinity. The others are pictures of the marathon, festival and cricket stadium in anti-clockwise direction respectively. One solution to mitigate the congestion is to deploy additional Pico base stations. However, the deployment of fixed Pico base stations at stadiums is not an appropriate solution as the utility of these base stations ceases when the demand abates. The capital expenditure (CAPEX) in deploying such fixed infrastructure-based networks are even poorly utilized when there are absolutely no users present after the trigger for accumulation is gone. In such cases, the new expenses have to be dealt while deploying a new network for new triggers. Installing new sites especially in countries that have a highly competitive market like India, would raise concerns relating to cost (site constructions and maintenance), site acquisition requirements, human health concerns (electromagnetic exposure) and greenhouse gas emissions due to additional power consumption in the network. Network extension by setting up new base station towers is therefore not always a viable solution, especially in light of subscribers with dynamic mobility. In [4], the telecom analysts have mentioned that the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TIPA) says India needs at least 200,000 more towers as Indian telecom service providers allow little spectrum service to the humongous mobile users. The problem of mounting the towers and keeping in mind the health hazards caused due to radiations along with scarce spectrum clearly indicates India is suffering from a broken network.

These are the network situations that put service providers in a dilemma thereby keeping the problem unsolved. Another solution of the network on wheels is usually deployed as temporary solutions wherein the base station towers are carried on the trucks and stationed at congested hotspots. However, this solution seems to be ineffective in terms of mobility and portability when accumulated subscriber crowd move from place to place like in marathons, carnivals or festivals thereby creating high capacity demands at each and every location of the traced path (PTC).

The question now arises that what could be a possible solution that can serve the hotspots with rapid and easy deployment without actually installing new base stations. The answer lies with the fact that nowadays the UAVs or the Low Altitude Platforms (LAPs), aka Drones are finding use-cases in almost all the fields including being deployed as Aerial Base Stations that can provide connectivity to the congestion struck network areas with masses of users. Such a deployment combines sensing and communicating between the self-maneuverable nodes (drones) and hence technically speaking the solution shall be an amalgamation of both mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) and wireless sensor networks (WSN) forming Hovering Ad-Hoc Network (HANET) [5] in the 3D space.
For detailed reading refer to [5] REFERENCES

[1]    Matt Richtel; “Inauguration crowd will test cellphone networks”; The New York Times; Jan 2009
[2]    Kumar, A.; Mehta, P.L.; Prasad, R., “Place Time Capacity- A novel concept for defining challenges in 5G networks and beyond in India,” Wireless Computing and Networking (GCWCN), 2014 IEEE Global Conference on, vol., no., pp.278,282, 22-24 Dec. 2014
[3]    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/internet-users-in-india-to-reach-627-million-in-2019-report/articleshow/68288868.cms
[4]    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30290029
[5]    Purnima Lala Mehta, “A Self-Itinerant Intelligent Aerial Radio Architecture (SIIARA),” Ph.D. Thesis, Aarhus University, Herning, Denmark, 2018.

Dr Purnima Lala Mehta
Assistant Professor
ECE Department
IILM-CET, Greater Noida

Drone Base Stations: The future of 5G and beyond Cellular Systems!!

The Low Altitude Platforms (LAPs), aka Drones, are becoming the latest trend for their usability in multiple applications including search and rescue operations, surveillance, disaster recovery, transportation, agriculture, etc. But now we can see their roles emerging into commercial sector and a future prospective in the field of advanced communications. The Facebook Drone Project[1] and Google Loon Project[2] (images below)are some of the examples that are performing research to use High Altitude Platforms (HAPs) in the air to provide internet connectivity to the masses on the ground. Where we see such high altitude flying devices stationed up in the air to cover larger areas (upto several kms), low altitude platforms are being suggested to cover the hotspot/localised areas on the ground.
IILM-CET, Greater Noida
Facebook DroneAQUILA [1]

Google Loon Project [2]
As the future 5G and beyond generations are claiming to provide high data rate services to the massive user base, the level of infrastructure must be re-considered by the Telecom Operators. The fixed base stations have a limitation on their multiple installations at small congested areas. Traffic hotspots are characterized by significant traffic loads that can make nearby base stations congested. Certain areas can become hotspots at some times and be user-free at other times. Adding base stations at such areas shall prove to be idle at times when there are less or no users in those particular areas. For example, at carnivals and at festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi are loaded with crowds on the roads, and might congest the nearby base stations due to attempts of mass access to the internet connectivity.

Low Altitude Platforms (LAPs) forming Aerial Base Stations (ABS) are nowadays suggested to improve the radio coverage to the subscribers on the ground. Several researches are going on to make a complete Drone Cellular Base Stations and team of such drones can be deployed at areas where there is heavy congestion or during catastrophe situations where the fixed base stations are destroyed.

Some of the positive aspects of utilizing Drone Base Stations are as follows:

  • Reachability: Easy to reach at target/congested areas.
  • Rapid Deployment: The team of drone base stations can be deployed as and when needed.
  • 3D Coverage: The drone mobility can cover all of the area around them with a probability of being at Line of Sight (LoS) with the ground receivers at most of the times.
  • High Payload Capacity: Advancements in new structures and designs suggest high payload carrying capacity.
  • ImprovedPower Consumption: Advancements in batteries and use of alternate sources of energy (e.g. solar chips)
  • Intelligent and Adaptive: Variable altitudes, speeds, and orientation according to the applications can be customized.

 It is believed that Intelligent Drone Base Stations are a good alternative in the future 5G and beyond (5GB) in order to enable the rapid and efficient deployment in addition to the traditional ground infrastructure.
No wonder if you see drones flying right above you in the future!!!!
For detailed reading refer to [3] References

  • “Flying Aquila: Early lessons from the first full-scale test flight and the path ahead,” Facebook Code
  • “Project Loon,” Wikipedia”
  • Purnima Lala Mehta, “A Self-Itinerant Intelligent Aerial Radio Architecture (SIIARA),” PhD Thesis, Aarhus University, Herning, Denmark, 2018.

Dr Purnima Lala Mehta
Assistant Professor
ECE Department
IILM-CET, Greater Noida