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Will wearable tech change
the game for factory workers?
Just over a decade ago, the concept of ‘wearable tech’ was nothing but science fiction,
summoning visions of clunky headsets or wrist-watch calculators. Today the wearable
tech industry is bursting with potential, from augmented reality interfaces to smart PPE, says
LIKE MOST technology
markets, the wearables
market moves quickly. The
’80s were very
experimental, with Casio
even producing a watch that contained
a thermometer, and Seiko launching a
watch with a mini-TV screen. Wearable
tech didn’t truly become useful until
the ‘00s though, with the first
Bluetooth headset launching in 2004.
The GoPro wearable camera was the
next big launch in the industry, and
today every other person seems to
have a Fitbit or Apple Watch device to
count their steps, track their
movement and monitor their heart
rate. The point is, stuff we considered
outside the realm of possibility just a
couple of decades ago, like easy
hands-free communication, has
become normalised very quickly.
According to Statista, the number of
connected wearable devices
worldwide is expected to grow to over
1.1 billion by 2022, facilitated largely by
the advent of widespread 5G rollouts.
There’s little doubt that the discovery
of new use-cases, such as the
application of wearables in workplaces,
will contribute greatly to this increase.
In that regard, the COVID-19 pandemic
has acted as a huge catalyst, with
many essential workplaces such as
hospitals and factories looking for new
ways to keep their businesses moving
while maintaining social distancing and
limiting contact. The wearables market,
it seems, was made for 2020.
The dawn of industrial wearables
When we think about wearables, we
often think of them as being every-day
conveniences, allowing us to take calls
while driving, or track our route while
out for an afternoon jog. This is true
enough, but the real game-changing
application for wearable technology
might well be on the factory floor.
Wearable tech is all about the
exchange and merging of real-time
data, something which industrial
factories absolutely depend on for
efficiency and productivity. The ideal
wearable will remove some of the
steps needed to achieve a certain goal,
either by relaying information in a
hands-free way, or allowing workers to
carry out a particular action with
minimal effort or movement.
is all about the