Each day we get close and closer to the Factory of the Future. As IoT and its supporting technologies advance, industrial organizations are finding many ways to modernize factories with “smart solutions,” such as predictive maintenance, robot workers, smart logistics, and more; driving efficiency improvements, revenue gains, and operational effectiveness.
Until now, the innovators and creators have focused primarily on implementing technology solutions that operate independently from human beings. However, the true value of Industry 4.0 can only be unlocked with a focus on the connected worker.
What is the connected worker?
Connected workers are linked to their work environment using wearable devices and sensor networks. Device and data ecosystems are seamlessly connected to provide workers with relevant information and timely insights to optimize the blend of human and machine intelligence.
For example, a connected worker network could send a real-time alert to a worker operating on a machine that is about to fail, and the worker can intervene before disaster strikes.
A connected worker can get remote guidance, receive notifications, exchange information from the point of work, provide locational information, and remain connected to a control room even from mines and low network areas.
Multimodal, high-precision, fully three-dimensional positioning, and mapping solutions, for example, provide unprecedented visibility and actionable information. This can be invaluable for location tracking, optimizing travel paths, virtual fencing, and creating lock-out zones and access control.
Proximity detection also becomes smarter and faster with connected worker solutions. Ensuring better worker safety and responsiveness during evacuations, providing locational and situational information about hazardous locations and moving objects such as forklifts, as well as ingress and egress detection in confined spaces as well.
Considerations for connected worker solutions
If you are thinking about implementing connected worker solutions at your workplace, there are several considerations you need to take into account. You must make sure that:
- Wearable and device networks are multi-functional, ergonomically designed, and unobtrusive.
- Product and platform technology ecosystems are holistic in purview, covering workers’ safety, workforce productivity, asset management, personnel tracking, remote support, and communications.
- The solution addresses the actual needs of the industrial workspace, that devices are ruggedized for industrial environments and can operate with or without wi-fi to enable last-mile connectivity
- Products are built to integrate with existing systems to future-proof investments and provide scalability.
- There is a robust platform that can deliver timely and accurate information to the worker when it is most beneficial.
- Data is collected and used correctly, ethically, and worker privacy is always kept secure.
- Devices are user-friendly and intuitive for workers while simultaneously delivering high-quality user experiences.
The Factory of the Future is meant to be sustainable, effective, more productive, and safer. Until man and machine are merged, however, the full potential of the IoT technologies that lay at its foundation will not be realized. When implementing connected worker solutions at your organization, keep the above suggestions in mind in order to get the most out of your investments and get in touch with us if you need more guidance on how to build the Factory of the Future today.
Guardhat is pioneering end-to-end connected worker safety solutions for industrial workers. We offer cutting-edge, wearable technology; a proprietary connected worker platform – unrivaled in its ability to ingest, manage and analyze unstructured data; easy to deploy monitoring and reporting software; and a growing ecosystem of partner integrations.
Guardhat enables companies to monitor worker location, health, and work environment to shorten reaction time and help proactively solve safety challenges. We hold 15 patents in real-time location systems, wearable solution design, and connected worker software. If you are interested in our connected safety solutions – including situational awareness, environmental and biometric monitoring, multi-modal communication, RTLS, Covid-19, and advanced technology solutions – contact us to arrange a demo.