How the IoT Helps Companies Protect Their Workers, Avoid Production Interruptions and Achieve Operational Excellence
By George Thangadurai, Executive Vice President and President of International Business for Borqs Technologies Inc.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting the world—in a good way. From businesses, to governments, to the everyday consumer, the IoT is transforming how we interact with the world and with each other. No longer simply at your fingertips, the internet is now available on your wrist!
Wearables are on the rise, and ABI Research reports that by 2022, shipments of smart watches, smart glasses and other enterprise retail wearables will reach approximately 10 million units, as opposed to only two million shipped in 2017. And it’s estimated that companies will spend nearly $5 trillion on the IoT in the next five years. This proliferation of connected devices will help make the world healthier and safer.
Connected wearable devices have already been established as great products that help people stay physically fit and healthy. Besides being simple fitness trackers with heart rate sensors, some smartwatches can now also measure oxygen saturation in blood. While heart rate sensors look at the rhythm of the blood in your veins, oxygen levels can be determined from different light wavelengths, which vary from person to person (skin color, body mass index, etc.). Because these small wearables—whether smartwatch, ring, patch, etc.—tend to be low power, batteries can sometimes last for a few years, and many can communicate raw data via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and even cellular connections.
In the workplace, companies are now beginning to harness this IoT technology to improve industrial sectors including mining, oil and gas, manufacturing and transport. Workplace safety is vital to protecting workers, avoiding production interruptions and achieving operational excellence. So by utilizing data generated by IoT devices, industrial companies can now check workers’ vital signs while on the job and make machinery safer for workers to use and maintain. They can also create a real-time, multi-dimensional model from a variety of data sources including the sensors on equipment as well as geological and other data to ensure high efficiency and safety. In the mining industry, in particular, companies can use wearable technology and IoT data to avoid collisions at mines by tracking the movements of workers and machinery at job sites and are able to use remote controls to shut down equipment when not in use, which prevents injuries and accidents.
In industries where employees work in isolated locations, network connectivity can be the company’s only link. Wearable sensors can locate workers in hard-to-reach places during an emergency and video, voice and display technologies can be a way to communicate with these employees in the event that a safety incident does occur.
Additionally, transportation incidents have shown to be a top cause of fatal work injuries, so remote monitoring, through the use of IoT technology, can reduce worker travel demands.
The IoT can also prevent equipment failure by using M2M sensors that can detect the status of the equipment, including temperature, pressure, vibration and speed. This information provides analytics to predict failures before they occur and alert teams about potential trouble before it happens.
Generally speaking, the IoT connects employees to their work environments. Through combining wearable technology with other digital advancements, real-time data points can be generated, and then processed by a cloud-driven data analytics program to let supervisors know what exactly what is happening right then and there.
Use it or lose it
The IoT offers a wealth of life-saving and money-saving information to employers, but the information must be utilized properly in order to reap its benefits. By making sure that IoT analytics are incorporated into daily operations, safety professionals can ensure health, well-being and efficient productivity. The IoT and its connected devices are ever-changing, and while technologies will continue to evolve, companies would do best to constantly seek opportunities to improve their current state and utilize the latest technological advancements. While there are still many challenges to overcome in fully integrating the IoT into the world, it is undoubtedly poised to improve the health and safety of its users and revolutionize the way we view technology.
About The Author: George Thangadurai – Executive Vice President and President of International Business
George Thangadurai is an accomplished leader in the computer industry with more than 20 years of experience in strategy, product management, business development, marketing and general management. Prior to Borqs Technologies Inc., Thangadurai served as executive vice president of marketing and chief strategy officer at Mobiliya Inc., Mountain View, California. He worked at Intel for more than two decades in various technical and senior management roles, which included serving as general manager of strategy and product planning for the Mobile PC business. He also served as general manager client services. A founding team member of the Center of Development for Telematics (CDOT), Bangalore, India, Thangadurai earned his master’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Rhode Island, with two IEEE published research papers, one industry conference paper and eight patents.
About Borqs Technologies, Inc.
Borqs Technologies (NASDAQ: BRQS) is a global leader in software and products for IoT providing customizable, differentiated and scalable Android-based smart connected devices and cloud service solutions. Borqs has achieved leadership and customer recognition as an innovative end-to-end IoT solutions provider leveraging its strategic chipset partner relationships as well as its broad software and IP portfolio. BORQS designs, develops and provides turnkey solutions across device form factors such as Smartphones, Tablets, Smartwatches, Trackers, Automotive IVI, Vertical application devices (for restaurants, payments et al.). For more information, please visit the Borqs website (http://www.borqs.com).