Wearable computing has come a long way since the initial “sci-fi” images of the 1960s. These days products have multi-functional purposes. One noticeable boom has been with sports watches. They don’t just tell you the time anymore. These super-watches can teach you to become the next pro-athlete star. Non-runners can learn to run a 5 mile race. Golfers can cut down their swing count with GPS telling them the distance of the pin. And now, another smart-watch is on the market from a Canadian start up Pepple. Alerting you when you get an email, phone call and text. In essence, an extension of your smartphone. Outside of the cool influx of gadgets, businesses have been using “wearable computing” for a long time.
I think back to a casino customer I was working with a few years ago. My client had a very innovative way of using RFID tags to run their Housekeeping department. At that time, RFID was traditionally used in logistics, fulfillment and retail environments. Instead, the casino embedded RFID tags inside the uniforms of their housekeeping staff and readers at every elevator entrance. The tags transmitted employee information and their location. With thermal transfer printers and tags, it was a very cost effective method of tracking their workforce. Replacing a tag after a few hundred washes was far cheaper than supplying a gadget for each employee (which at that time didn’t even exist). They used the RFID technology to replace time clocks and clunky ruggedized device. It enabled the housekeeping staff to do their job without needing to perform any extra “administrative” tasks. Moreover it did not hinder their movement and efficiency levels. The last thing this client would of wanted was a trendy mobile workforce app for their staff.
Lesson learned from housekeeping, use innovation to drive successes. Sometimes it just makes sense to strip it down to basics and be more grass-roots. Depth and breadth always out last trends; in the end, gizmos and flashy apps get replaced or upgraded.
Blog Writer: Colleen Rodericks, Fieldpoint Service Applications