A century ago, efficiency expert Frederick Taylor conducted time and motion studies by examining iron workers individually to derive insights that could be generalized. Now, we have seen the evolution of such studies through use of wearable computing devices with data analysis and feedback for the improvement of performance.
This wearable technology is changing work environments as it rapidly increases in popularity and developers continue to find innovative ways to utilize it. As it changes the way businesses train, equip, and empower their employees, wearable technology is improving workplace productivity, creating new business opportunities, and monitoring and increasing health and safety.
While these devices are often seen as fun and engaging, they have the potential to completely disrupt the modern business world. The way and culture of doing business as we know it has become more mobile, so it’s time to think about how your business could possibly be impacted.
Improving Workplace Productivity
The use of wearable technology offers several different kinds of analysis, one being the measurement of the time and motion required to perform a process. The aim for this is to increase the efficiency of knowledge work, and such an approach requires employees and managers to collaborate closely. While greater efficiency is an important outcome, the ultimate purpose is to help employees work smarter, not faster.
As wearable tech is now being designed with business applications in mind, today’s workforce finds many applications for it, including retail stores and call centers. In the retail industry, devices such as wireless headsets, tech lanyards, and wearable wrist displays allow employees to access information on-the-go. This means staff members can look up information without having to leave the customer. This time-saving capability satisfies both customers and employees, improving the customer service experience significantly.
Technicians who may need to consult a manual can simply use smart glasses while performing repairs. Even construction workers benefit from wearable technology, as it allows them to easily see inside piping and walls. These wearable devices allow many field companies to save millions by solving issues faster. The ability to manage time better and solve problems more efficiently makes for happier employees.
New Business Opportunities
In addition to improving workplace productivity and improving the customer service experience, wearable technology is also creating new business opportunities. The influx of devices like smartwatches and Google Glass opens new opportunities for marketing, including enhanced customer data collection along with insights into user interaction.
Digital marketers can more easily collect information on consumers’ buying habits and locations. Marketers won’t be the only ones benefiting from the wearable technology trend. New wearable tech means enterprises will need to develop apps for new systems, plus manual workers will be needed to create new products.
With smart clothing and accessories already expanding business opportunities, new possibilities will arise as this trend flourishes into a multibillion dollar industry. This presents an opportunity for the most forward-thinking companies to create new technologies, services, and even build entirely new industries. By the year 2018, the wearable technology market will be worth more than $8 billion.
Health and Safety
One growing trend is companies’ use of wearable devices to track employee health. Wearable technology has already become a familiar trend in the world of health and fitness, reflected by the fact that companies are giving staff fitness monitors to keep tabs on their activity levels as part of company “wellness” programs. This health monitoring trend is excellent for employees who spend long hours sitting at their desk, and even better for people who work from their home office and are much less physically active. The data gathered from this monitoring can be tied into incentive programs or health insurance policy premiums, reducing healthcare costs.
In industries with work that can be considered high-risk, wearable devices can play a critical role in safety. One example of the use of wearable tech for safety is a device known as SmartCap. This device looks like a regular baseball cap but has sensors to detect a truck driver’s alertness, providing an early warning for when a driver is approaching “microsleep,” in turn reducing fatigue-related accidents.
Wearable technology is impacting the world of business as it enters the workplace in various industries. Wearable devices are the next evolution of mobile technology, cutting out the need to wake up our smartphones and open an app as we now have wearables to keep us connected at all times. Wearable technology is improving health & safety in the workforce, increasing workplace productivity, and creating new business opportunities.
Considering this trend, it’s economic impact and potential, you want to start building a strategy around wearable tech, because the earlier you do this, the more competitive your business can be in the next step of mobile business. Companies who take initiative to prepare for and embrace this new mobile technology will find opportunities for growth and increasing profitability.
About the author
Jen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words, business, education and cutting-edge. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie