Starting with the smartphone revolution in 2007, technology is no longer defined by static machinery and desktop PCs, but by lithe devices we carry with us everywhere. Today, tech is moving past the confines of the pocket, as wearable devices become increasingly common.
For the workplace, new concepts that serve to increase productivity are at this mostly bottle-necked by innovation, rather than raw computational power. Alternate Reality (AR) overlays — the concept of projecting graphical information that appears in the physical context of what the user actually sees around them — has long been possible, for example. The issues are in building ergonomically usable devices, and more importantly, finding use cases to develop AR software around.
At this volatile time for wearable technology, it’s worth surveying the business technology landscape, and figuring out which wearable gadgets are most likely to provide a reasonable return on investment.
Leveraging wearable tech can drastically redefine the workplace for the better. Here are four ways this subcategory of tech can increase productivity quickly and efficiently.
Deploy wearable streaming cameras, and use them sparingly.
Wearable body cameras as well as more discrete smart glasses allow supervisors and trainers to provide assistance and monitor progress without being physically present.
Maximize the return on investment by deploying streaming solutions in situations where there are ongoing costs related to travel, which likely outpaces the ongoing expense of maintaining increasingly inexpensive equipment in this category.
The less time employees spend traveling to deal with what amounts to a little over-the-shoulder supervision, the better. Body cameras continue to drop in price and improve in quality, with features such as night vision commonly available.
Use wearable GPS to improve logistics.
For manufacturing or warehouse settings, wearable GPS units can feed data into applications to help with routes for sorting, or locations of important items. This improves productivity, while also explicitly being a tool meant to make daily decisions easier for employees.
Even the most streamlined, organized warehouse can benefit from having every employee on the floor consistently picking the best routes, with data regarding the positions of other workers taken into account.
With the right GPS plan, workplace safety should naturally increase, mitigating costs that naturally emerge from less organized warehouse or manufacturing environments.
Find out what AR can do for your industry.
Augmented Reality, or AR, essentially provides a heads up display to assist workers with visual data related to the task at hand. In applicable settings, this cuts down on the amount of questions and outside reference the employee needs to complete a task, so they spend working hours actively completing technical tasks, rather than re-checking various details.
As an example, a technician engaging in a simple repair of an unfamiliar car engine can use AR to quickly provide contextual information in the heads-up display, rather than having to reference a technical manual or a more experienced technician for that now-easily accessible information.
Or, a tour guide could have relevant information appear on their heads-up display regarding each attraction, to ensure quicker training times to get new employees up to speed with what would otherwise be a large amount of information to learn and memorize at once.
Have all staff wear health monitoring devices.
Encouraging positive attitudes towards health using simple wearables like FitBit bracelets can give companies useful leverage in insurance negotiations. And for business with long-term investments in their employees, this could lead to better overall health and happiness for the entire company for years to come.
Of all the wearable options, this one provides the best potential for a decent return on investment for larger businesses, as the devices are inexpensive, and lower insurance costs can quickly outpace that initial investment.
There’s much more to come.
Wearable tech is only recently arriving at the point where it is both dependable and inexpensive enough overall to consider applying with an eye for cost-saving measures. The device categories here are among the most dependable, useful gadgets, and hopefully more new devices meet the standards of even more commercial use cases in the very near future.