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The term wearable technology refers to a category of electronic devices which can be worn as accessories. Such technologies can be tattooed on the user’s skin, embedded in clothes, and even implanted in an individual’s body. In most instances, wearable technology is hands-free gadgets with practical uses. Microprocessors power these gadgets and improved with the capability to send and receive data through the internet.

The fast implementation of such devices has placed wearable technology at the front position of the IoT (internet of things). Wearable technology has had numerous application in different fields; one area where it has recently gained prominence is the field of manufacturing.

In this digital epoch, data is indemnified for its fundamental value in enhanced business insights and smart-decision making. But, in the manufacturing industry, data serves a different role. Data can be used to help employees on the factory floor to manage tasks and goals, visualize critical conditions, and understand details of work orders. However, in most manufacturing factories, access to real-time data is often a challenge. Such factors have encouraged such organizations to wearable technology and mobile solutions in order to offer employees with the needed access to the data they require. Most manufacturers are looking at wearable technology as solutions to increase performance while ensuring the safety of workers and employees.

Wearable technology has been trending over the last number of years. As technology advances, its application has spread across the manufacturing industry. Wearable technology has been growing rapidly because of the rise of industry 4.0, where these gadgets are a natural fit. They are developed to effortlessly bring together pertinent, real-time information and data which frees our hands from finding it. Leading manufacturers are aggressively investing in technologies which will develop smarter, and more connected plant floor to attain enhanced quality and greater operational visibility. Current research indicates that over half of United States manufacturers will be expected to adopt wearable tech by the year 2022. Current studies indicate that by 2020, approximately seventy-five million wearable technology devices will be deployed in industrial environments and enterprises.

The development of mobile networks has supported the development of wearable technology. Some gadgets such as fitness activity trackers demonstrated the first big wave of wearable technology to be a hit with consumers. Technological advancement has led to the introduction of more robust technologies mobile applications such as web-enabled glasses, Bluetooth headsets, and smart watches. These gadgets have now enabled employees to receive data from Wi-Fi networks. Currently, trends in wearable technology appear to be shifting from consumer accessories to more specified and practical applications. Currently, wearable technology has led to the development of microchip implants that have introduced to replace passwords and keys. Such implants may be implanted in fingertips, and these chips will use radio frequency identification (RFID) or near-field communication (NFC).

The flourishing market of wearable tech comes in a variety of forms- from continuous glucose monitoring and fitness trackers to contactless payment solutions and smart clothes. Over fifty million wearable devices were shipped in 2015. While wearable technology is often perceived from a consumer-first viewpoint, it also presents numerous business opportunities. The manufacturing industry, in particular, stands to gain tremendously from current advancement. There are a number of ways that wearable technology can impact manufacturing and help to redefine the way employees complete their tasks. They include:

  • Improve Safety: wearable tech will help to make the workplace accident-proof by addressing the potential issues that may result from faulty human judgment. In addition to this, the benefits of wearable technology can also be extended to customer safety. Because of this, the factory is able to offer a safe and conducive environment for both the employees and the customers.
  • Increase Efficiency and Productivity: the introduction of voice-first technology, wearable tech will begin to assimilate voice technology into their design this will ultimately lead to the development of hands-free devices. These gadgets will help to eliminate the friction which exists with handheld devices, and this will allow for the more seamless workflow that will translate in increased productivity among employees.
  • Improve Security Planning and Authentication: manufacturers must work to ensure appropriate security protocols and authenticate third parties or every employee before they are granted access to any property. With this in mind, wearable technology can permit, restrict, and track any employee movement.

One of the key purposes of wearable technology in the manufacturing industry is to find efficiencies and enhance safety and health. In order to ensure that wearable technologies to work in an organizational setting, they ought to offer workers with the functionality they require without sidetracking them and placing them in dangerous scenarios. For instance, manufacturers can provide employees with smart watches that are designed to address real-world plant demands, and it offers the employees with something that stretches beyond expert eye protection. Such gadgets can be used to offer audio, and telepresence with biometric tracking and cloud-based servers, and offering barcode scanning. Overall, the adoption of wearable technology has been fundamental in improving the overall performances of organizations.

Wearable technology offers great potential to the manufacturing industry as it allows them to improve and upgrade the things they operate. Integration of human brain capabilities and AI-powered wearable devices can help to increase productivity, efficiency, and safety in the manufacturing industry. As such, more manufacturers should be looking to incorporate wearable technology in order to improve their overall production and result in higher performances.