Wearable technology in the workplace holds the promise of making us all more productive, blending tech and human capabilities. Many small business owners and employees are already wearing activity trackers and smartwatches, but here are some innovative workplace wearables you may not know about.
1. Thinking Caps
In the past 25 years, we've seen cars become computers on wheels, with laser-based sensor systems that can tell you when objects are approaching and then automatically stop the vehicle. This same object-recognition technology has been built into wearables to help promote workplace safety. For example, RioTinto reports that one mining company has equipped its employees with SmartCaps, which look like baseball caps and use sensors to recognize when an employee is becoming fatigued. The cap, worn by drivers working long shifts, alerts them with a sound when their fatigue levels begin to rise.
2. Smart Glasses
Eyewear created by XOEye Technologies allows the wearer to share what they see with collaborators, allowing for improved remote working and communication. For example, a technician repairing a machine at a customer's work site could transmit real-time images to other technicians at the home office, enabling a collaborative discussion of the best solution.
3. GPS Trackers
Wearables are also effective when it comes to logistics, enabling businesses to track the locations of products and workers in real time. As Bloomberg reports, Amazon uses wearable GPS devices to track the whereabouts of its warehouse workers and communicate with them about the most efficient routes to take in the warehouse. While your small business may not be able to afford Amazon's technological solutions, there are a lot of tracking options out there, some of which are light and inexpensive. Knowing where your employees are can help you optimize a smaller workforce.
Do wearables make sense for your small business? That depends. Wearables can be expensive, but they can also help you improve productivity and safety, which can save you money in the long run. Before implementing wearables in your workplace, it's important to weigh the upfront costs against the long-term efficiencies.
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