The Role of Wearables in the Future Workplace
An article on ITProPortal details how wearable devices have and will impact the future workplace. Social distancing as a result of COVID-19 has accelerated the wearable boost due to the avoidance of touching surfaces. The wearable tech market is expected to grow 137% by 2024.
Research shows that 50% of companies anticipate a productivity increase by using wearables to connect workers to resources and to each other. Key areas that benefit from wearable devices listed in the article are:
- Streamlined processes and increased productivity: Wearables can help to speed up production, reduce operational expenses, and alleviate strain on workers. Previously manual processes can be automated by these devices, creating a hands-free environment, increasing design accuracy, and allowing enterprises to rectify issues before release.
- Personalised and effective training: Increased efficiency and personalisation in training as well as employee satisfaction, performance, and knowledge retention, are caused by wearable technology. Wearables create immersive task simulations, placing employees in a virtual environment that accurately mimics a day on the job. Three-dimensional training is also enabled with wearable technology, giving information on various products.
- Safety and situational awareness: Employers can make more informed decisions and be proactive in ensuring employee safety using business operation insights; wearables can be tailored to a worker’s specific needs, and equipped with haptic response capabilities to inform workers if they are working unsafely. Data capture capabilities can also determine which tasks are being performed poorly or inefficiently and help to create time-specific reports to track performance, both of which can reduce risks and combat lost productivity.
- COVID-19 prevention: Wearables can be used to grant access to employees, removing the need to touch surfaces. The technology can also be used to detect temperature changes in a worker’s body to identify any illness or COVID-19 cases. Advanced possibilities include booking meeting rooms for test and trace records, replacing lunch queues with bookable slots, and using a smartphone to order a lift in advance.
Some challenges and concerns related to wearable technology mentioned in the article are:
- Security concern
The article concludes by acknowledging that wearables are already revolutionising the workplace, such as law enforcement body cams and wireless pendants for hospital worker communication. COVID-19 is a catalyst for wearable integration. If enterprises are going to explore the potential of wearable technology, they need to ensure their devices are managed properly to gain the most benefits.