The rise of wearable tech in construction
Wearable technology is a market that's booming. In fact this year, it looks like production is set to hit 135 million.1 That's largely thanks to the popularity of smart watches and fitness trackers, but also because all types of industries are embracing its capabilities.
One sector that's really getting to grips with wearable tech is the construction industry. It's a sector that's traditionally been slow to change, but this new technology is making organisations sit up and take notice. Studies show it can:2
- increase safety;
- reduce accidents and injuries;
- and boost efficiency and profitability.
So what sort of technologies are we likely to see construction workers using, now and in the future?
Safety vestsHi-vis vests can now be infused with geo-targeting, allowing managers to keep track of their workers, slow down or deactivate heavy machinery when an employee enters a danger zone, or allow workers to request help at their specific location.
Smart glassesUsing augmented reality, safety goggles and visors can be used to show site plans directly over the actual location, or a plan of where cables and pipes sit behind a wall or ceiling. Smart glasses can even be used to scan bar codes, keeping hands free for other tasks, or to send real-time images from the construction site, back to the office.
Wristband controllersThese allow the operator to work hands-free, while using gesture control to communicate with co-workers, take pictures or keep track of tasks. Then back at base, a company can monitor workers, check their location, ensure they're working safely, or keep a watch on their health in stressful or busy conditions.
Exoskeleton suitsThis really is the future, but suits like this could help workers lift heavy objects without the risk of strain or injury. It will also allow them to work more safely with power tools, eliminating conditions like Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, one of the most common industrial diseases in the UK.
Be preparedWhile all this new technology is incredible, it's worth remembering that any data you collect has to be stored securely to prevent a possible cyber attack – especially with the new GDPR coming into play in May 2018, and the introduction of higher fines.
If you'd like to find out more about the rise of wearable technology or the impact it can have on your construction insurance premiums, take a look at this useful infographic, or contact your usual Jelf consultant.