Happy Labor Day! The Internet of Things (IoT) makes working in the connected age safer, more productive, and more efficient for many businesses and their employees. Here are some ways IoT has improved the way people work by connecting them to their work environments.
Using IoT in a work environment is one of the most advanced ways to increase safety and security for employees. IoT is used to monitor potential risks in the workplace. Wearing physical sensors or devices is one way to track an employee's physical state. These devices retrieve health data from the employee and keep the employee connected to a network to ease the management of all employees. For example, Intel produces devices for fire and rescue workers that can pinpoint the worker's location in a building. The connected device ensures rescue workers can easily reach the employee if emergency assistance is needed. Other wearable devices allow workers to send a distress signal if there is an accident on the work floor. These devices can even notify a manager if an employee enters an area of their work environment with dangerous machinery or hazardous materials that is not an approved work zone.
You can also use IoT in a work environment to monitor the potential risk of fire. Fire safety sensors can identify a temperature rise and indicate when and where a fire is likely to start. Early detection is crucial for prevention and, in the unfortunate case that a fire does break out, can help to ensure a timely evacuation for all personnel.
IoT can also increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace, taking stress off workers and helping streamline or even automate processes. Real-time data from sensors and other connected information sources allow businesses to pick up on mistakes or inefficiencies in the supply chain. Real-time monitoring not only increases day-to-day efficiency in operations but also can be financially beneficial to the company. Mining.com explains, "IIoT enabled machinery can help optimize material and equipment flow for increased efficiency and yield. Equipment failures can be anticipated and real-time monitoring allows for sophisticated decision making and predictive maintenance strategies... Through IIoT, drilling and blasting can be optimized, leading to improved mine and logistics scheduling. Integrating IIoT technology into a complete mine operation can expand ROI by boosting throughput and reducing expenditures." Using IoT in the workplace can optimize the use of a business's assets, predict points of failure, and even trigger maintenance processes autonomously while keeping the worker informed of any changes in the environment.
Here, at Losant, we used our IoT Platform to build a dashboard that shows all employees that plan on being in the office on a particular day. The dashboard also provides historical data, like which days are the most popular, and shows the schedule for the next 60 days. As the world started to find its new normal after the pandemic and employees began returning to work, we surveyed our employees to see how they felt about returning to the office. From the survey, we learned that many of our team members were ready to come back to the office but didn't want to sit in an empty office – they wanted to know if there would be a familiar face nearby or someone to talk to throughout the day. The survey results prompted our solutions team to create a dashboard where any employee can register themselves for any future date that the office is open. Team members can look at the dashboard to see what days people were planning to work from the office and register to join if they wanted.
Not only did this drive our office occupancy and help with the return to work, but it has also assisted with contact tracing. In the unfortunate event that one of our employees falls ill or tests positive for COVID-19, we have a way of knowing who may have come into contact with them. We can then reach out to those individuals to let them know that they may have come into contact with an employee who has tested positive for the virus to begin monitoring for symptoms. In the words of our CEO, Charlie Key, "The people that come together to create Losant are easily our most important asset," and we use IoT to help protect our best asset, our team.
The Internet of Things offers businesses new ways to improve the way their employees work by connecting them directly to their work environments. IoT has managed to help many companies improve working conditions, employee safety, and productivity by regulating processes to make them more efficient.