Management

What is the future of wearable technology?

24 November 2016

Image: Mihocphoto/Dreamstime.com

Wearable technology is set to enhance strength, safety, productivity, communication and vision on site says Sonia Mokdad marketing executive at Geniebelt, a construction project management app developer.

In an age of constant technological innovation, new gadgets that make our lives easier are released on a regular basis. Wearable devices are one of the latest technological advances that have the potential to be applied in various areas of the construction process.

Wearable technology is defined as any accessory or piece of clothing incorporating electronic and computer technology. It is already used within sports, fitness, and health.

In the same way wearable technology helps us track and improve our daily life, it will be used to optimise the working routines on site.

Data collection 

The key advantage of wearable technology is its ability to collect real-time data. Anything that can be measured on site can therefore be tracked, reported and analysed. Heart rate, location, temperature, movement or even lightning trackers can easily be integrated into safety vests and hard hats, making little to no difference to construction workers’ daily routines.

On the site, it is undoubtedly a great way to improve different key areas of the working routines.

Safety

Safety is one of the key concerns on a construction sites. Computer and electronic technology can help soothe the minds of site managers by providing accurate tracking of workers and processes.

For example, the smart vest, already in use on some sites, allows on-the-job monitoring of body temperature and heart rate. It is therefore possible to prevent accidents by spotting workers that have alarming vital signs.

Another key metric that plays a dominant role in safety is real-time location. Incorporated into safety vests, it provides workers’ location and is also able to localise danger zones and vehicles. Warning audio signals are included in the safety gear to prevent collisions or to inform of an imminent danger.

Productivity

It goes without saying that productivity goes hand in hand with safety, as healthy employers work better. However, beyond safety concerns, the data collected from wearable technology can also be used to optimise the work on site. For instance, movement tracking can be reported and interpreted so as to identify most productive times of the day, higher risk movement repetition etc. Contractors can then use the data to optimise working processes and increase productivity.

Enhancing human capabilities through wearable technology

The future of wearable technology looks exciting for all technology lovers and contractors that want to stay ahead of change. On top of tracking manpower metrics, the wearable technological accessory of the future will be able to give you and your employees that extra little power that will make a huge difference on site.

Enhanced communication and vision

Smart glasses and virtual reality headsets are set to play an important role in construction in the next few years. The key features of those gadgets are 360-degree viewing and real-time communication.

While it may seem basic, it makes a significant difference on site for communication and project overview. By being able to communicate with contractors, workers can receive on-site feedback, guidance or training at any time.

This technology can also be used among workers for optimised collaboration and communication or with customers to show the progress of a project.

Enhanced strength 

Exoskeletons, as its etymology suggests, are outside skeletons. While it seems to be taken straight out of a sci-fi movie, this gadget is no longer a fantasy. Harnessed to the construction worker, it allows them to carry heavy weights with less effort.

A non-negligible advantage in an industry in which injuries are quite common and the risk of said injuries increases with age.

Nonetheless, exoskeleton technology is still in its infancy and is not yet affordable for all contractors.

Wearable technology has a promising future on the site and several gadgets already in use have been proven to increase safety and productivity. While safety vests and hard hats are quite easy to implement, more advanced technology requires a more significant investment.

It is also crucial to keep in mind that however impressive the technology seems, it is still not immune to failure and should not replace proper safety training and alertness.

Comments

Great technology, who will be carrying out this monitoring, the site team who are so overworked!!

Denis Lawler, 24 November 2016

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