Transforming Behaviour-Based Safety With IoT Wearables: A New Value Driver For Connected Safety

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Transforming Behaviour-Based Safety With IoT Wearables: A New Value Driver For Connected Safety

Since the beginning of the IoT age, emerging connected safety devices have often been heralded as a pivotal factor in transforming EHS from a reactive to a proactive function. Furthermore, vendors developing connected devices have presented sound and exciting business cases, including real-time vital signs and hazard environment monitoring, proximity and location tracking, remote augmented reality support and ergonomic assessment. For potential new buyers, there is strong evidence from early adopters of promising results in targeting prominent risks with devices (see Verdantix 10 High-Value Use Cases Of Connected Worker Solutions).

Despite the evident benefits of connected devices, a number of factors have been prominent in deterring EHS leaders from investing. Firstly, corporate budget holders are often put off by the large CAPEX cost of connected devices. Although connected devices are becoming more affordable, firms often favour more scalable options, such as lone worker applications or computer vision solutions. Secondly, large corporate organizations have been rendered highly sceptical of new EHS rollouts, as a result of arduous EHS software implementations. Therefore, despite the well-established business case of connected devices, EHS budget holders often must be sold on the ease of device installation, adoption and operation.. Lastly, data privacy is a prominent concern for potential buyers of connected safety devices, with firms having to assure employees of the nature of the data collected and its usage.

Due to these barriers to adoption, a number of connected device vendors have folded, or diverted resources to other ventures. Take Microsoft, which recently announced that it had scrapped the development of the third version of its industrial glasses product, HoloLens. However, vendors that have made it through these difficulties have emerged with highly promising functional and technical improvements to their connected products (see Verdantix Buyer’s Guide: Connected Worker Solutions).

One functionality expansion that should pique the interest of potential EHS buyers is using connected devices to support better employee safety behaviour. Take, for example, vendor Rombit: its industrial driving solution uses sensors to detect and alert drivers, of dangerous vehicle operation in real time. Notifying drivers through haptic feedback, Rombit’s devices are unobtrusive to operations, and have driven significant improvements to forklift-related leading indicators. Similarly, Metcash – an Australian wholesale distribution firm – reduced the number of back-related injuries by 38% compared with the previous year and was able to deliver an estimated year-on-year projected return of $400,000 after informing employees of ergonomic risks using StrongArm’s SafeWork solution.

These examples showcase the application of real-time data used proactively to address risks before they lead to incidents. To understand more about the future safety applications of connected devices read the recent Verdantix report: Verdantix Market Insight: The Future Of Connected Safety.

Tom Brown

Industry Analyst

Tom is an Industry Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice. His current research agenda focuses on technology mega-trends, EHS software, and sustainability. Tom joined Verdantix after graduating from the University of Nottingham with a M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering, with particular focus on Process Simulation and environmental sustainability.