Wearable Tech In Business: Why Field Workers Will See It First
It used to be that the most connected workers in an organization were those who were physically nearest to corporate headquarters. But recent innovations in mobile technology, including a new integrated platform built on the open-source operating system, promise to make workers on a company’s front lines as insightful and connected as those in its boardrooms.Limited by the constraints of infrastructure, information could previously only travel so fast and so far–whether it was conveyed in weekly or daily meetings, fired from floor to floor by pneumatic tube, or carried from office to office on foot.Yes, the advent of the telephone helped eliminate the tyrannies of time and distance over the enterprise, but it still required cabling and a physical presence that disrupted workflow and made poor use of time and energy. For example, if you ever worked retail, you might have experienced the “answer in three rings” rule on the sales floor; staff would abandon whatever they were working on and race to pick up ringing phones on the other side of the store-bypassing dozens of other customers along the way.The mobile device revolution solved the time and space challenge to an even greater extent, but it still left many field workers out in the cold. Indeed, smartphones and tablets connected employees to powerful back-end systems that enabled them to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. Those solutions, however, still required something that not every worker was capable of: using the device with one hand, while carrying out their work with the other.This might not be a significant problem for retail employees, but it can be a safety issue for field workers who do jobs that take steady focus and two hands. An oil worker might not be in a position to whip out her smartphone at a moment’s notice and read the alert telling her a pipeline is about to burst.But now things are changing yet again, with a wider variety of devices-such as wearables-that support workers whose roles have specialized needs.A new collaboration between Samsung Electronics and SAP aims to empower the field worker with a universal mobile application platform. An announcement between the two companies on November 11th revealed SAP-powered additions to Samsung’s portfolio of mobile devices, including CRM, ERP and HCM applications.The collaboration also creates an open-source platform for developers to build new enterprise mobile applications that take full advantage of Samsung mobile device features, including multitasking and voice, stylus and gesture controls.This new trend in front-line-optimized devices can benefit markets where the shift towards workplace mobility presents the greatest opportunities. For example, let’s look at how this connectivity can affect the retail, oil and gas, finance and healthcare industries.
The integration of new retail applications on mobile devices and wearables can provide store operators with immediate access to inventory. It can also allow employees to access customer data, look up product information, and process mobile payments–all while on the retail floor.
Key asset management and field service applications are now available on ruggedized devices that can give workers in hazardous environments access to necessary data. In addition, wearables create a hands-free user experience that can allow field workers to receive information and respond immediately to urgent issues safely–and with minimal disruption to their work.
Smarter mobile banking solutions can offer secure and user-friendly experiences for banking and insurance customers. They can also enhance the onsite banking experience for visitors, with innovative mobile solutions, printers and large format displays.
Customized mobile applications for the healthcare industry can improve personalized healthcare management by providing secure connections to cloud-stored health information, as well as better options for managing data.Similar combinations of devices and applications are transforming other industries that rely on mobile workers, as well. With a boots-on-the-ground perspective on critical business activities and unfettered access to back-end data, the field worker may have just become the most connected person in today’s enterprise.For more information on Samsung’s solutions, click here.The Samsung BusinessVoice team is passionate about the latest trends and innovation in today’s business technology market. From wearables to the Internet of Things, we cover the latest topics in the market, yet we bring them to life in specific industries like education, healthcare, retail, hospitality, transportation/logistics, and government.