How much into wearable technology are you? Things like Google Glass, the Apple Watch, and FitBit have brought the term more into the limelight these days. Wearable technology is defined as tech devices that are worn on the body, are connected to the Internet, and usually have health-related tracking information, mobile device sync capability, or both. It’s also sometimes called “wearable gadgets”. Wearable tech can be a removable device, or it can be integrated into clothing.
While the consumer market is well represented in the wearable tech field, are you aware that there’s also a business side to it as well? Here’s what you need to know about this particular aspect of wearable tech.
IT COMES IN MANY DIFFERENT FORMS, INCLUDING IMPLANTS!
Much like on the consumer side, wearable tech for businesses comes in various forms. For instance, employees may have a chip embedded in their name tag, badge, or as part of a wristband. A coal mining company in Australia has “smart caps”, which look like regular baseball caps, but with sensors embedded to detect the wearer’s state of alertness.
Employees at a company in Stockholm, Sweden have the option of having a microchip embedded in their skin, which eliminates the need for electronic ID cards or Keyfobs. It’s not mandatory, so people who don’t want implants have the option of remaining “old school”. The convenience certainly can’t be denied, though.
WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?
Wearable tech in the workplace has many useful applications for both the employee and the company. As mentioned above, it can provide employees with an unprecedented level of convenience. Wearable tech can help monitor an employee’s vitals when they’re undertaking hazardous tasks.
According to “How Will Wearable Technology Change The Workforce?”, wearable tech can help employees increase productivity and even help new hires to get brought up to speed by uploading orientation and training manuals onto the wearable device.
For the business itself, employees with wearable tech are easily traceable, and, therefore, can help management to streamline logistics, which means less grunt work for employees and a cheaper and more efficient set of procedures. After all, if workers need to get from Point A to Point B and are taking a less than efficient way, that can be spotted and corrected.
Think of everything that’s done with paper forms; things like time cards, inventory sheets, expense receipts, to name a few. Now picture the elimination of all those things, to be replaced by various types of wearable tech.
ARE THERE ANY DRAWBACKS TO THIS?
You bet! Let’s stop and ponder the implications, for example, of having one of those implants mentioned earlier. Employees can feel as if they’re being tracked, like they were some sort of tagged wildlife or perhaps some prisoner in a high-tech futuristic facility. It could lead to a less than ideal atmosphere and potential morale problems.
Even more, as these sensors get more sophisticated and can collect a greater variety of personal data, when does that personal privacy line get crossed? If the sensor is actually monitoring an employee’s health, how much information needs to be collected before it’s deemed “too much”?
Wearable tech has a load of potential, but like so many other of today’s innovations, it needs to be approached carefully. Lines need to be drawn, lest it leads to abuse.