How Wearables Could Make Your Business Better
Wearable technology has exploded this decade, thanks to the fact that it’s now possible to cram enormous amounts of computing power into tiny spaces. Computerized glasses and wristwatches that were once the stuff of science fiction have now become our new, shared reality.
So far, the impact on business has been slight. But there’s good reason to think that those businesses who get in early with this technology could experience significant advantages over their competitors.
Here are some of the potential applications for wearables.
Businesses care about employee productivity - a lot. The reason? The more value an employee can add, the more worthwhile it is paying them a wage.
Wearable technology promises to revolutionize employee productivity, especially in physical environments. Instead of training employees to do specific tasks, glasses with augmented reality could simply overlay instructions on how to operate a piece of equipment right there and then. The employee would then just follow the instructions and get the job done.
Microsoft has already been trialing workplace augmented reality with some companies. They found that AR could improve worker productivity by an astonishing 30 percent, simply by providing real-time instructions through the interface.
Recently, companies like IBM have been trying to solve the problem of poor workplace safety using wearables. They’re currently working on a bunch of wearable devices that interact with workplace sensors to improve everything from materials handling to robot safety. The idea behind the project is to give people a sort of “workplace guardian” - a system that will adapt if it thinks that a worker is putting themselves at risk.
For instance, suppose a worker accidentally went into a restricted area. In a normal, dumb system, the machines would keep operating just as before, not caring whether there was a worker there or not. But IBM thinks that it can use wearables with location sensors to interact with machinery, automatically shutting it down if a worker gets too close.
Improved Health And Wellness
Fitness trackers have been an integral part of the wearables market since they burst onto the scene at the start of the decade. But so far, businesses haven’t capitalized on the trend.
Now, though, more companies are starting to understand the value proposition. Healthier employees tend to be more productive employees and so there’s a massive incentive for companies to introduce fitness trackers. Trackers have the potential to motivate employees to get more activity and reduce their healthcare costs.
According to Amy McDonough, the VP of Fitbit - a major wearables company - better health starts with better data. If an individual is able to understand their current state of health, they are then in a position to set tangible goals to improve it. Wearable devices, she says, promotes health on an individual and a company-wide level.
Wearables, McDonough says, can also be used to improve workplace security, whether it’s in the form of an NFC tag or some other method of authentication. She cautions, however, that having extra devices also opens up the possibility of hacking, meaning that businesses need to be careful when changing their security procedures.
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