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Internet of Things in the Workplace

Updated on December 7, 2016

Over 37% of the world’s labor force identify themselves as “mobile workers”. 54% of office employees claim the Internet and Cloud solutions boost their productivity. Business environment is changing – not least because of IoT, of course. Here’s how sensors, wearables and data analytics software transform the workplace.

5 ways IoT revolutionizes workplace

  • Improved security. According to Tech Pro Research, over 79% of companies across different industries including healthcare, finance and customer services use enterprise software or consider doing so in the near future. Another survey revealed that 25% of existing business applications are subject to at least 700 vulnerabilities due to security misconfigurations. The situation is expected to worsen as 50% of employers will expect employees to use their own devices in the workplace through 2017 (and beyond). Whether you run an international corporation or small company, your key responsibility is to prevent hackers and malicious programs from entering your software environment. Although IoT solutions are seldom developed with security in mind (you’ve probably heard about the recent botnet attack which affected several popular websites including GitHub and Twitter), some sectors embrace the Internet of Things in order to increase payment transaction security and protect customer data. Diebold Nixdorf, a joint US-German company which controls 35% of the global ATM market, manufactures smart cash dispensers that use the iris scan technology and interact with customers through dedicated mobile applications. NEC, a prominent Japanese IT services provider, develops fingerprint, facial and voice recognition solutions which deliver reliable results in 99% of cases. By 2020, all smartphones will leverage biometrics technology in some form. Provided you address a reliable software development company and seamlessly merge a smart solution with your enterprise software, the Internet of Things can take your security strategy to the next level;

  • Business process automation. The leading agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers enhance their machines with sensors, track equipment performance in real time and take rapid action (re-adjust settings, replace equipment parts or the machine itself) when needed. Thanks to smart sensors and powerful analytics software, retailers can reduce shrinkage by 70%, increase inventory accounting accuracy up to 99% and boost ROI by at least 7%. Also, sensor solutions are making their way to hospitals, student accommodations and warehouse facilities. The UK-based Heartlands Hospital partnered with Zebra Technologies to develop a comprehensive patient monitoring system to reduce the expenses associated with mistaken identification ($ 3 billion per year). The proposed solution incorporates wristbands with embedded RFID tags, a personal assistant mobile application and electronic patient records. The new system enabled Heartland Hospital to increase operating theatre efficiency by 20% and significantly reduce the number of hospital errors. The growing adoption of new technologies has its downsides, of course. By 2025 workload automation solutions will cause 9.1 billion job losses in the USA alone. On the other hand, the Internet of Things will drive the demand for skilled software developers (+27% by 2024), data scientists and hardware engineers;
  • Increased employee productivity. Last year millennials officially became the largest US labor force (53.5 million people), finally surpassing Boomers. These guys were born with technology at their fingertips; it’s no wonder 3 out of 5 modern employees agree to use wearables and other IoT solutions in the workplace provided the new tech will boost their productivity. Over the course of a lifetime, the average American spends 100 thousand hours at work. According to Harvard Business Review, tasks that occupy 45% of US employees’ time can be potentially automated. These include scanning documents, scheduling meeting rooms, making coffee, answering emails, etc. Thanks to smart sensors and analytics software, companies can monitor space utilization and generate push notifications once a room is unoccupied, leverage machine learning algorithms to remember employees’ habits (like how much milk they usually put in their cappuccino) and automate other time-consuming processes , enabling their staff to devote more effort to high-value work;

  • Safer working environment. Last year the US private sector companies registered 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries. 10% of US construction workers get minor injuries every year. The number of deaths caused by work-related illnesses is even higher. Workplace injuries cost the country over $ 250 billion (!) per year. IoT has the potential to change things for the better. This year, smart watch and wristband shipments will top 70 million units worldwide. Gartner claims most companies with 500+ employees will use wearable devices to track workers’ daily activities and sleep patterns and leverage the data for individual insurance plans. American International Group also uses wearables and AI-powered software to monitor construction workers’ performance in real time and predict injuries before a slip or equipment downtime actually occurs. Another example comes from Redpoint Positioning, the company that designed sensor-equipped vests which alert construction workers to potential dangers on site. And there are smart headsets, too: using the DAQRI Augmented Reality helmet and other Google Glass-like devices, employees can access instructions and manager notifications in a hands-free mode;
  • Energy efficiency. The true value of IoT solutions stretches far beyond connected gadgets as such; it is sensor data that enables companies to identify potential bottlenecks, improve personnel and asset management and decrease energy consumption. Deloitte, one of the four biggest accounting companies that employs nearly 250 thousand workers around the globe, invested an undisclosed sum into the Edge project. The Edge is located in Amsterdam and is considered to be the world’s greenest and smartest building. The building uses photovoltaic panels that accumulate enough energy to power its HVAC systems and super-efficient LED lighting panels equipped with temperature, humidity and motion sensors. The sensors automatically detect whether a room is being used at the moment and manage the lighting and heating accordingly. As a result, the Edge uses 70% less energy than the average office building of that size and creates comfortable work environment for Deloitte employees.

By the end of 2016 there will be 6.4 billion connected gadgets worldwide. As more companies realize the benefits of being tech-savvy and jump on the IoT bandwagon, the competition is getting really tough. In less than 2 years 30% of the current Fortune 500 companies will be outpaced by their tech rivals. Unless you start using IoT solutions in the workplace today, tomorrow you may fail to cover revenue decreases and retain employees and eventually go out of business.

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