While wearable technology may have initially seemed like a storm for the consumer marketplace – and it certainly appears to be that way – there is strong evidence that wearable devices will change a number of business processes in the business world, as well. There are a number of business processes that hinge on where employees are located, what direction they’re traveling in and how fast they’re going. The techniques trucking companies and speedy delivery companies use to keep track of their vehicle fleets are causing some companies to think about using on their actual employees, and there are a number of business functions that wearables are ideally suited for.
“Wearables will enter the workplace,” Robert Rubin, CEO of GPS solutions provider Skypatrol, told Wearable Tech World. “Wearables will enter the workplace in fields like workforce management, where wearable GPS solutions can provide greater safety and freedom to mobile workers through automatic data collection – while also providing a means for measuring productivity. Businesses with field personnel or a mobile workforce will benefit from real-time knowledge of staff whereabouts, enhanced scheduling functions as well as complete reporting on movement throughout the day.”
Technology can greatly enhance workforce management efforts by ensuring that all data are correct, and eliminating cumbersome manual processes of logging, calling in or completing reports.
“GPS tracking of their workforce will generate comprehensive reports, automating the typically manual logging process,” said Rubin. “The collected data will simplify the mileage tracking/expense process, enable routing analysis and make it possible to evaluate and improve overall business performance.”
While “wearable technology” in the enterprises typically involves devices like smart glasses, wristbands, smartwatches and badges, some companies are even getting science-fiction with the idea. Bloomberg Business recently profiled the Stockholm, Sweden-based Epicenter co-working space and “house of innovation,” where about 15 percent to 20 percent of the 250 working in the space are choosing implanted chips with RFID near-field communications technology. The chip, which is implanted under the skin, allows workers to swipe into the office, set the alarm system, register loyalty points at nearby retailers and access facilities such as gyms. The technology eliminates the need for key-fobs or electronic entry cards. Hannes Sjoblad, “Chief Disruption Officer” at Epicenter, told Bloomberg that he has been flooded with inquiries from other companies looking to embrace the implanted chip technology.
While the implanted chip may be a little extreme, it’s all about one goal: using data to better drive efficiency. (Some employees may be wary that it’s about “Big Brother”-like monitoring, but it depends on perspective.) Today we have analytics to track our software use, our customer relationships, our sales efforts, our product performance, service options, hardware operations and more, but what the analytics puzzle was missing was the human element. Thanks to wearables – and the employees who agree to wear them, which is likely to present an interesting element of the story going forward – companies will be better placed to track how efficiently their human capital is functioning.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere