Business Boost | 29 January 2016 - by Laura Hood

4 benefits to wearable technology in the workplace

Proving to be as popular as tablets were back in 2012, wearable tech is the must have trend for years to come, with global sales expected at $53.2 billion by 2019.

Wearable technology is not just for home use and wiz kids but is also being adopted into the business world. There are plenty of benefits of bringing this technology into the workplace and many different options available. Smart watches and fitness bands are the most popular devices in the market but products like google glass and clothing (mostly used for athletes) with wearable tech built inside them are also emerging.

Hands free

Having a hands-free device has been said to increase productivity by 8.5% and satisfaction by 3.5% within a business as employees can receive and review data on-the-go, as well as sending the data they receive back to the company. The possibility of voice commands is useful, offering a totally hands free experience. Samsung and PayPal have also been said to be creating an app to allow payments to be made through a smart watch- which is a handy feature for any professional on the move.

Not to mention how much more accepted a quick glance to a watch or other wearable tech would be compared to searching documents or devices at a meeting. Allowing data to be received and taken action on right there and then.

Health monitoring

Whether you spend your days at a desk or out on the ‘field’ finding the time to look after ourselves in life can be difficult. Fitness wearable technology and sports watches, Fitbit, Basis Peak and Mio Fuse to name a few, are  becoming more and more useful to get us to make sure we are looking after ourselves. With heart, calorie, sleep and activity monitoring within many of the wearables, we can make sure we’re healthy during the rush of the daily grind. This could reduce employee sickness days and motivation in general within the office environment.

The health industry itself is looking into how these wearables can help reduce the amount of unnecessary visits to GP’s and Accident and Emergency. Heart failure patients would also benefit from these wearables as the information received could be used as a warning for the patient. There have even been cases of data from fitness trackers being used in accident court cases to show the affect and after effects to those involved.

Data collection and customer care

Having access to company data anywhere can improve the level of customer care given by employees making for a much more pleasant and detailed service. Emotionally, employees are found to be much more motivated when using wearable tech, companies have also been found to be much better connected and in sync both in the business and outside of it with its customers.

The potential for data collection with wearable tech is beyond belief, making it possible for employees to get instant information on their customers, giving insight into user interaction which is extremely useful for marketers who want to know more about who their customer is.

Devices have been created which track employees or use a camera to see what an employee did on a job- although somewhat ‘big brother’ style this has helped to resolve many problems within different industry’s faster, cheaper  and with more success.

Apps

With the ever growing wearable tech industry brings new and exciting apps specifically designed for businesses to use. Still an ongoing investment and development process for many large organizations apps for anything from stock control to transaction processes are emerging and creating more benefits for wearable tech in the workplace. Specialised apps will allow employers to be even more efficient whilst they’re working; and with them being specifically designed for businesses the options are endless.

However, problems can occur as company’s often overlook security and privacy issues with bringing your own devices into work- giving the IT departments much more to be aware of. Each device brought in acts as an access point for hackers so it is important to have some sort of protocol in place to reduce the risk of data theft. Limiting access to company data can also help to reduce risks to a company and many companies will have protocols in place that will just need to be stretched to cover other devices and wearable tech. With that taken into account  wearable tech is seen to be something that is crucial to the more efficient running of business across all industries and many devices being brought out are much more ‘sophisticated’ and do limit some of the risk.

Wearable tech will and can improve efficiency if companies factor in the industry they are in, business size and how the business is in itself. The benefits could work for you or the company you are in, and it is something worth thinking about.