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Is There A Place For Wearable Tech In Manufacturing?

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 2:31pm
Tia Nowack, Associate Editor, IMPO

Wearable technologies are a hot trend. At the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) this past January, there was no shortage of high-tech watches, glasses, and hats for entertainment and fitness applications. They often feature video and audio capabilities and internet connectivity, in a compact and portable package. But can wearables make the transition from recreation to business? Jon Marshall at Minnesota-based V.I.O. claims they already have.

“The adrenaline sports embrace of POV cameras is easy to identify: they allowed users to focus on the moment, not the equipment. The same applies for business use of wearable tech,” Marshall says.

Real-time access to available information is at the center of the wearable movement, and video that can be streamed beyond devices will play a huge role. Marshall says that for developers, the XML and HTTP-based open application programming interface (API) is key for integrating with existing solutions. The wide range of parameters allows developers in several industries to benefit from wearable technology video.

“Manufacturers have used mounted security or IP cameras for decades. Now, using wearable technology, video solutions can be more mobile and allow for more uses,” says Marshall. Wearable and mobile applications are now able to archive footage, which could prove helpful for plant managers and maintenance professionals. Because most devices on the market now allow you to stream footage in real-time and save the content for later reference, wearable technologies could be a good investment as a quality control solution.

V.I.O. StreamAccording to Marshall, this hands-free, first person point of view footage has many potential applications. “From a maintenance perspective, plant operations managers would be able to see workflow and potential issues in real-time, from a remote location if necessary. Or, with archiving video, managers could capture footage for review and implementation of preventative maintenance procedures.”

But not everyone is so optimistic about the future of wearable technologies. There are many skeptics who look at these products as a short-lived fad, not the future. Do you think there’s a place for wearable technologies in your facility? We’d love to hear your opinion.


If you have comments or questions about this article, or would like to be featured in an upcoming article, please contact me at tia.nowack@advantagemedia.com or on Twitter at @TalesFromTia.

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