Robotics and automation are already rife in the auto industry with BMW employees having already started using hi-tech gloves that let them shave off valuable seconds on scanning items with both hands. The German car giant suggest that when you add up all the workers and the collective amount of time saved it’s close to 66 hours every day.
The gloves are more than just time savers. They help workers identify the right parts and handle them appropriately. The $1,300 gloves are being tested by other car manufacturers such as Audi and Skoda.
The US and the UK lose millions of work hours and billions of dollars every year simply due to sick leave and minor injuries. If smart tech can make the workplace a little safer and more efficient, the aggregate value added would make a huge difference.
Some tech firms are also building belts and devices that support workers as they try to lift heavy objects. Injuries from lifting objects cost US businesses more than $70 billion last year alone.
Smart devices like this can help reduce the chance of injury. A great example of this is that cutting edge support systems have drastically reduced lifting related injuries.
Meanwhile, Boeing, the aerospace manufacturing giant, has been experimenting with Google Glass to assist technicians while they fix complex wiring systems that are found in their aircraft. A specially designed app allows technicians to identify, cut, and attach the right wires. Boeing says this has reduced the rate of errors and the time fixing wires by 25%.
Smart fleet management software is helping to keep drivers safe as they transport goods across the country. Smart sensors built into vans and trucks can detect odd behaviour from drivers and flag up collision risks on the road.
Not only does this make the driver more alert but it can also help fleet management companies reduce the cost of insurance.
Companies have been handing out fitness trackers and calorie counters to help employees stay healthy. Wellness programs have been taking advantage of all the tech and data now available to reduce the rates of absenteeism.
IT giant Oracle, for example, regularly organises stress workshops that have helped the company save more than $1m in absenteeism-related costs.
Better data, smarter devices, and customised sensors can all help drive efficiency at work. Better productivity may help human workers hang onto important jobs for longer and fight off the threat of being replaced by bots.
Technology has already transformed the way people live and communicate. It’s time it started transforming work as well.