Wearable technology is an up and coming innovation in the construction industry. It can be broken down into three categories: Tactile wearables, visual wearables and sensing wearables. As the final installment in this series on wearable technology, this article will discuss successful implementation of wearable technology in your business.
The first step in successful implementation of wearable technology is discussing it with your employees. Help them understand the benefits. They will likely have objections about data collection and potentially regarding this equipment restricting their movement. Data should only be used for your company and not given to anyone else, unless you have agreed to send data to a manufacturer for research purposes, in which case you must disclose this to your workers. Show them how the technology will not restrict their ability to do their job, but will in fact help them be more efficient and provide extra safety measures.
One of the easier forms of this technology to implement is visual wearables. The hands-free factor of delivering instructions and blueprints to a worker mid-job, without them having to stop what they are doing, will go a long way toward getting them on board with the new technology. When a worker can directly see and feel the effects and benefits the technology brings, it’s easier for them to accept this as a new normal.
If you are going to implement tactile wearables, going with something that is embedded into articles of clothing or shoes employees are already wearing is the best first step. This will give them an idea of how the technology works, how it helps them and makes them a better, more efficient worker. It also shows them that wearable technology is no different than items or articles of clothing they already wear, it just has an added benefit.
Bionic suits and other items that work as exoskeletons, while not necessarily available yet, will either be met with disdain or excitement. Some workers will balk at the suits because of how they are worn, how they affect their body. Other workers will be excited about the benefits of being able to lift things which previously required multiple people, or completing a job in one day (like chipping cement) that previously took five days.
Sensing technology may take a little more time as it requires the user to have an added piece of equipment for the edge computer. Even if it’s a wristband, if someone isn’t used to wearing something on their wrist, you will find resistance. If it’s an extra item clipped on their belt and finding an appropriate spot for it is proving difficult, you will have resistance. Which is why it’s important to start with less invasive technology first, technology that doesn’t impair their ability to work or restrict movements.
Safety of the individual as well as overall site safety is improved with this technology, so keep your eyes open to how these products are evolving. Ensure that your products are keeping up with current standards, and don’t forget that both individual and site safety protocols are necessary in order to advance all safety goals
Initiatives that require less change on the part of your employees will be easier to implement, which is why visual wearables are the perfect way to break the ice. Like anything new, implementing wearable technology will initially be met with resistance. Listen to the concerns and objections of your workers. Inform them of the benefits of this technology and how the data collected will be used. Put their minds at ease before having them try something new. Successful implementation of wearable technology, or anything new for that matter, ultimately depends on the mindset of your managers, workers and subcontractors. So putting them at ease early in the process is crucial to successfully implementing wearable technology.