Probably everyone who is at least to small extent interested in technology is aware of personal wearable gadgets like fitness trackers, smartwatches or VR headsets getting more and more popular. Though probably not many of you know how potent market for workday gadgets is.
Those gadgets could be smart glasses providing a scheme of the assembly to manufacturing worker; wearable computers with which whole communication is via voice; helmets or caps with sensors notifying if a worker falls asleep. All of them has one thing in common: They are about to improve the efficiency of a worker by cutting costs or increasing work output. Those products seem to be easier to sell as they do not need to define problems they are solving (which is the case with consumer-oriented products) rather they are solving well defined existing problems.
The first gadget of this type worth knowing about are helmets and cups from SmartCap Technologies. They look like regular safety helmets or trucker caps but have the additional function. With use brain wave sensors (like EEG) they can detect when a worker is in danger of falling asleep and in such a case trigger alarm on his smartphone and when the danger is extreme, it can notify his supervisor.
This function is extremely important in the case of mining industry truck drivers. They are in control of trucks the size of a family house and if they fall asleep even for second consequences could be tragic.
This makes them sell rather easily as it is less expensive to buy those safety helmets rather than covering losses created by the accidents. SmartCap is charging $150-$200 a piece plus $30-$50 monthly subscription fee for the app and they are selling well.
The other gadget is clip-on voice controlled computer by Theatro created for sales clerks or cashiers. The device lets its user check inventory, check code of a product, communicate with other employees or find out when do they have their next break. Why is it much better than an app on the smartphone? It is because they do not need to avert their eyes from a customer which as Mr. Fitzgerald says “most customers when they see somebody doing that, they feel like they can go look at their own screen and get their own information.” This causes loss of a sale and in fact productivity drain rather than productivity gain.
Other worth mentioning gadgets are interactive textiles allowing to communicate with the device via touching work clothing by Google Project Jacquard and Cintas (for hospital employees and patients); Head mounted cameras for field service technicians allowing them to ask for advice without the need to use their hands which are currently occupied by the task their doing.
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