Can Wearable Technologies Boost Employee Productivity?

google_glass_doctorThe answer is yes, according to a research report called Cloud At Work (HCAW).

The HCAW report is part of a two-year collaboration between Rackspace, the open cloud company and the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) at Goldsmiths, that investigates cloud-enabled wearable devices and their impact on UK businesses and consumers. (A side note here is that the research was done among 120 employee of UK-based media company Mindshare with a “experimental” methodology and was accompanied by two online surveys; one among 300 IT decision-makers and one among 2000 UK consumers. So this is in no way a general statement about using wearables in the workplace)

Wearables can boost employee productivity by 8.5% according to the research. Also, wearing devices such as brain activity sensors, motion monitors and posture coaches, made the group of employees 3.5 percent more satisfied with their jobs. This isn’t something like a instant boost whenever one starts wearing these type of devices, but participants showed growth over a period of 3 weeks.

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Extracting meaningful insights from the data is a key to making it work: the research found that one employee created upwards of 30GB of data per-week from the three wearable devices. Scaled across an organization, this is clearly a huge amount of information that needs to be captured, stored and analyzed.

According to a Vanson Bourne survey of 300 IT decision makers in the UK, 29% of UK businesses have some form of wearable technologies projects in practice. The main reasons for such projects are employee well-being (16%), instant access to important information (15%), and improved customer service (14%). The greatest perceived barrier to entry for wearable technology at work was having an IT infrastructure that could take advantage of the data being collected and analyzed (20%).‌

Check out the report on Scribd, or own VINT research into wearables and applications in the workforce.

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