Tracking employee activity can help businesses with process optimization, work efficiency and even compliance. Office workers are usually monitored using attendance systems, freelancers and remote employees utilize time-tracking apps, and mobile staff in the field can be tracked using GPS. But what about employees who work indoors, but not in an office, such as production line workers, warehouse workers or nurses? How can businesses track such employees and what can they achieve by doing so?
Indoor positioning systems and the consumer sector
When talking about indoor tracking, we can’t simply use GPS. An indoor positioning system (IPS) is usually utilized for these situations, combining information from several sources, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and geomagnetic fields. The end user is usually tracked through a mobile app or indirectly through an asset they are using, such as shopping carts or forklifts.
In the consumer sector, these systems are currently most notably used for mall, airport or museum navigation, customer tracking and loyalty programs. However, these examples, while providing a mobile app, operate on the assumption that people have the time and incentive to extensively use smartphones. That’s generally true for personal usage, but it’s where employee tracking can run into a problem.
How to track indoor mobile workers using smartwatches
What do industry workers from the examples in the first paragraph have in common? Besides working indoors and without constant access to information technology, their job is predominantly about actions in the real world. The work usually doesn’t require them to extensively interact with information technology. This means that adding it to their workflows, such as equipping nurses with phones or tablets, can prove contra-productive and slow them down in their work.
Luckily, smartwatches are becoming more and more viable for business use. And they offer the perfect way to track indoor mobile workers:
- Smartwatches keep their hands free to perform any job
- Certain actions, such as checking in to work, can be automated
- They can receive notifications and emergency broadcasts
Business benefits of indoor tracking
Let’s look at the benefits of tracking employees using smartwatches:
- Gather data about location, activity, job duration and execution. Even arm and wrist movements can be used to estimate total time, precision, or difficulty of certain activities. In manufacturing, collecting this data can prove just as beneficial as traditional audits.
- Optimize space based on employee movement, save their time and improve efficiency.
- Ensure employee health and prevent fatigue with body function sensors.
- Automatically track attendance and breaks based on entering and leaving break rooms.
- Use automatic check-in and restricted area access management.
- Use automatic notifications to prevent safety hazards or notify about issues that need immediate attention. This can include an IoT sensor sending a notification about a machine that requires maintenance, or a reminder to check up on a patient.
And, as a bonus, the tracking and business apps for these scenarios can run in a stand-alone version directly on the smartwatch without the need to pair it with another device. This allows companies to fully utilize the potential of the wearable and even devise a smartwatch-first strategy for their operations.
Join us in Rome for more
Interested in more? Join us on 24-25th October in Rome for resco.next 2019 where we’ll talk more about this concept. If you follow our blog, you may have already noticed that this year we’re also planning a special, conference-exclusive surprise. So let us share a small clue: It’s going to be related to this topic.