The wearable technology industry is growing in both strength and influence – and its value doesn’t look set to dissipate any time soon. All signs point towards wearable technology becoming just as commonplace as smartphones in the not-too-distant future. But it’s the potential benefits for business that is really interesting. The latest developments can be used to improve customer experience, boost workplace performance and engagement, and even attract new candidates.
According to a past survey by GlobalWebIndex, 71% of 16 to 24 year olds want a wearable device. This knowledge could aid employers in their battle to engage the up-and-coming talent of tomorrow by utilising wearable technology in the workplace, promoting its use in recruitment campaigns and positioning the company as a forward-thinking, innovative employer of choice.
But how is it used?
Various companies are offering wearable fitness trackers as part of their employee wellbeing programmes – allowing their staff to keep a closer eye on calories, steps, exercise and even stress levels. And in a climate so heavily focused on both mental and physical health, this is another string to the bow of any business choosing to harness the potential of wearable tech for employee engagement. But its use isn’t limited to health care alone.
Some construction workers are using wearable devices that allows managers/supervisors to monitor their location and be notified of any falls or other incidents in real time, thus allowing for reduced incident response times and improved communication.
There’s also SmartCap, that uses EEG to measure alertness for safety – sending live updates to the user’s smartphone and supervisors. This is particularly useful in the long-haul transport industry as an indicator of when drivers should take rest break.
For employees paid by the hour, wearable devices can be a handy way to record time spent on site, while Boston-based start-up Humanyze equips companies with employee ID badges, designed to record biometric data. However, some worry that this level of ‘monitoring’ could go a little too far. Employers could argue that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, but a focus on engagement is always wise in these competitive times.
The future is likely to see many a modern workplace embrace wearable technology – in all of its various guises – as the natural, inevitable, and somewhat unavoidable next stage in business evolution.