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The Rise of Wearable Devices in Manufacturing


Can you remember the last time you saw someone walking down the street or moving around your workplace while using a Google Glass headset? Probably not. If you’ve ever seen this happen at all, it probably took place more than three years ago. But if you think these devices have gone into total retreat, think again.

The Google Glass never took off among daily consumers. But the product has been reworked and repurposed as a useful device in the workplace, specifically within medical and surgical fields where it can be used to provide necessary information, communication, and documentation during a delicate hands-free procedure. And it may find a profitable place in the manufacturing sector as well.

Monitoring Employee Health and Activities

Several innovative manufacturing firms are now considering and investing in wearable technology that can help them monitor employee health metrics—and whereabouts—at all times during the day. These devices have the ability to streamline productivity and support employee training, and they also have the power to protect health and wellness, which can also reduce the cost associated with sick days and employee injuries. Apple, Google, and salesforce.com are all marketing wearable tracking systems for the manufacturing workplace, and these devices don’t stop with wrist bands.

Smart sensors on clothing can be used to protect employees from temperature extremes and certain toxins, and can even detect ambient noise that approaches dangerous levels. Body sensors and wearable cameras are also becoming part of a standard uniform in some fields and workplaces, and the effect of these devices on productivity may well prove to be worth the cost.

Wearable Technology Drawbacks

Of course, employees may reject certain types of wearable technology as an intrusion of privacy, and some may resent being asked to wear and bring their own devices as a condition of employment. But these kinks are being worked out over time, and as employers find a balance between benefits, risk, and cost, they acknowledge that wearables will certainly have a place in the manufacturing facility of the future.

For more on the development of wearable manufacturing technology and how these devices might influence your own workplace, reach out to the manufacturing staffing and management experts at CSS.

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