Over the last 6 months, there has been a surge of interest for wearable technology. Search traffic on Google increased by more than 480%, attracting the attention of some high-level business authorities such as Deloitte, Gartner and UBS Bank. The recent “wearables surge” has led these companies to investigate.
As with any business-related new investigation, the main goal is to identify market potential and ROI. In this case the question was: how can wearables be used as a new profit-generating tool? Interestingly enough, these trendsetters quickly realized that beyond the well-established consumer market for wearables lied bigger opportunities for the industrial sector. They determined the following …
1) “Key users will be operations and supply workers, people who maintain expensive equipment in safety-conscious environments, and hands-on professionals in emergency situations.” - Deloitte Consulting LLP
According to Deloitte, wearables have clear benefits in the workplace, particularly in industrial operations. As complementary devices, they will likely become significant “hands-on” aids for workers. Increased safety and productivity will be the core motivations for implementing this technology. Deloitte understands that the industrial workforce must develop a symbiotic relationship with wearables to create a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.
2) “[Smart glasses] with augmented reality (AR) and head-mounted cameras can increase the efficiency of technicians, engineers and other workers in field service, maintenance, healthcare and manufacturing roles... Wearable technology could potentially save the field service industry alone $1 billion." - Gartner Inc.
Gartner elaborates further by highlighting the possibilities of Augmented Reality (AR) head-mounted wearable devices. AR heads up displays could provide workers with a fully immersive training experience by simulating operations and manual processes - all this within a virtual workplace environment. This could be an efficiency and safety booster, and the billion dollar savings cited by Gartner already make wearables an attractive industrial tool.
3)“Companies in the diversified industrial sector have begun to focus intently on the Industrial Internet. [General Electric] has embedded sensors on a wide variety of equipment [which] collect terabytes of data daily, and its analysis of this data aids in predictive maintenance, design/engineering of new equipment models [and] efficiency improvements.”- UBS Bank
With “Industrial Internet”, UBS refers to the integration of sensors onto machinery and heavy equipment. Companies will now be able to integrate real-time machine-to-machine communication into their operations, and this will ultimately allow them to save time and money. Indeed, UBS mentions that industrial firms ready to seize the opportunity will likely benefit from an additional $500 billion EBIT every year.
The statements made by Deloitte, Gartner and UBS all prove that wearable devices are set to revolutionize the workplace. Whether companies are able to integrate wearables today or first lay the necessary foundation of the “Industrial Internet”, the interest is here. It is very exciting for wearables experts to observe such a shift toward a modernized and super connected industry.