Forward-looking organizations are equipping their field techs with Google Glass and smartwatches, but the latest wearables to enter the field are health wearables, which monitor physical exertion and sleep patterns. These wearables, predicted to generate $5 billion in revenue by 2016, present a strong business opportunity for field service organizations, which is why many executives are jumping aboard the quantified self movement.
“While wearable tech products are currently more consumer-focused, field service organizations must work to be on the forefront of innovative technology and see how it can help them realize business benefits,” writes Stephen Timms, president of ClickSoftware’s Americas division, on Wired.
5 Reasons to Adopt Health Wearables in the Field
As employees drive from one site to the next, the C-suite can keep tabs on just how active their employees are, but health data also provides valuable insight for organizations.
Here are five reasons to invest in health wearables in the field:
- To increase employee productivity. A good night’s sleep is bound to result in a more energy-filled day, which is why when employees monitor their sleep, they are aware of whether they need to get more shuteye for a more productive workday. With more productive employees as a result of wearables, Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner, predicts that field service organizations will save $1 billion by 2017.
- To encourage employees to lead a healthy lifestyle. While field techs have an innately mobile job, they can always use a reminder to stay moving. People who wear a FitBit, Nike Fuel or Jawbone UP have reported that they feel a greater sense of motivation to get up and moving. “All of these gadgets perform the Big Feature well: making you constantly aware of your inactivity and lack of sleep — and motivating you, gently and engagingly, to pilot your life onto a healthier track,” writes David Pogue, former personal technology columnist for The New York Times.
- To engage employees through gamification. Oil and gas giant BP motivates employees to take more steps through its million-step challenge, monitored through company-distributed FitBits. The more steps an employee takes, the more “wellness points” he’s rewarded.
- To foster a sense of community. Wearables let employees follow their co-workers’ activity and feel unified with their team, even if they’re not physically in the same location. “Employees can send out messages to motivate each other towards the common goal of improving their health, which not only results in an improvement in employee well-being, but greater productivity and a better work environment where team members feel supported,” Alan Kohll, founder and CEO of Total Wellness, told Yahoo Small Business Advisor after talking to Alan Kohll, founder and CEO of TotalWellness.
- To reduce insurance premiums. While this one is still on the horizon, Kelly Barnes, who tracks healthcare for PricewaterhouseCoopers, says that health insurance companies could gain valuable insights from wearable data. “If you think of the wearable devices as a way to value improvement of BMI, who knows maybe one day — it’s scary to think — but maybe on a real time basis, the healthier you get the lower your premiums go,” adds Vaughn Kauffman, health industries advisor at PwC.
More than 13 million health wearables will be incorporated into employee wellness programs in the next five years, predicts ABI Research. With so many positive results for field service organizations, it’s a good thing the C-suite doesn’t need to convince a majority of employees to don these wearables. With the promise of improved productivity, 58 percent of employees would be open to wearables in the workplace, according to The State of Workplace Productivity Report by Cornerstone OnDemand.