Wearable Devices, the future becoming the present?

In a 2020 survey, it is estimated that about 80 percent of workers do not work at a desk, but in the field. Although the figures may have slightly changed to this date, the disproportion in numbers between those who work in the field and those who work in the office remains clear.

Sectors that employ field workers (referred to as deskless) range from teaching to health care, energy to industry, logistics to construction. However, they all share the same need: to have adequate technological tools to enable them to perform their functions to the best of their ability. Not only that: they also have the need for these tools to be integrated within the workflow and to allow access to the necessary information in real time, enabling them, in turn, to share information with other colleagues and/or systems when required.

Enabling technologies: how the market has changed since the pandemic

The adoption of new technologies for field workers was already a growing trend, but it accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In particular, companies were unprepared to deal with the difficulties associated with travel and skills transfer issues, critical issues that became emergencies in a very short time and led companies to urgently seek new solutions.

Among the enabling technologies that are most emerging in the market to meet these needs are smart glasses, which HeadApp has invested in since its inception by creating the Eye4Task collaborative platform. The use of smart glasses coupled with Eye4Task allows people to work hands-free, accessing and uploading information in real time without losing focus on what they are doing.

Estimates of steady growth related to the expansion of the headworn device market (devices to be worn on the head) confirm that the choice HeadApp made in 2014 was a forward-looking one.
(HeadApp is affected by the heading “Enterprise Content & Apps” in orange).

Wearable Devices, the future becoming the present?
Source: https://artilleryiq.com/reports/headworn-ar-global-revenue-forecast-2021-2026/

More specific data on augmented reality and smart glasses are also encouraging, showing a growing market focus. (HeadApp is affected by the “Platform and Licensing” item in green.)

Wearable Devices, the future becoming the present?
Source: https://go.abiresearch.com/lp-future-of-work-for-the-frontline

Deskless solutions to improve work, some best practices

While the areas of application of wearable technologies are very numerous, it has been found that there are some sectors that are currently seizing the opportunities provided by wearable technologies and related software before others. In fact, it is important to remember that these technologies require dedicated applications, on a par with a smartphone, which-without applications-is not taken full advantage of.

The user-centered approach

A user-centered approach that takes into account the needs of the worker remains essential in the design of these softwares, otherwise, as highlighted in research dedicated to deskless workers, the risk is that workers will not adopt the new solutions. Indeed, among the critical issues that emerged, it is pointed out that the use of technology is often focused on the tasks to be performed rather than on enhancing skills and offering new possibilities for managing work (operation vs. enabling technology), which leads workers to continue using old methodologies not recognizing the benefits of new solutions.

Among the cornerstones of Eye4Task there has always been a user-centered approach, in which listening to customer needs has made possible the evolution of the product as it is configured today. Not only that, but also continuous active listening has made it possible to improve and refine the software to be closer and closer to the client’s needs, often even working toward ad hoc solutions, as happened, for example, this year with Leonardo‘s adoption of Eye4Task on-premises for maintenance and skills transfer.

Another example of how the use of wearable devices can improve work comes from the Nippon Gases case, which decided to leverage not only smart glasses but also a wearable barcode reader for cylinder testing processes. The paired use of the devices was possible because Eye4Task is an integration-ready platform that can interact with other systems (including IoT).

Certifying the work performed

Another critical aspect of fieldwork is the possibility of certifying the work done. Bureau Veritas, which adopted Eye4Task as early as 2020, leverages smart glasses for audit and inspection activities, recognizing this tool as a viable solution for carrying out its work.

Wearable devices for the medical sector, a growing trend

The medical industry’s interest in the world of wearable devices and remote assistance was also consolidated in 2022.
At the beginning of the year, the Co-Innovation LAB presented the experimentation conducted with Eye4Care for laboratory activities, while in the fall the A.R.C.O. project, carried out by HeadApp with the IFO in Rome, for home care of oncology patients was closed.

The curiosity and interest in the new possibilities given by the use of new technologies was also confirmed during the MEDICA fair, where HeadApp had the opportunity to delve into the needs of this sector.

2022 was a good year. – says Marco Zanella, Business Development Manager at HeadApp – Not only do the data confirm that the wearables market is growing, but we are also witnessing a cultural change, where the words remote collaboration and smart glasses have now become part of the common language. There is definitely more awareness among our stakeholders of the benefits of enabling technologies for those working in the field, and this is leading to more investment by industries resulting in a “livening up” of the market, which I think is a very exciting factor for our work. 

Positivity, change and awareness are the three words we hope you will carry with you into 2023.

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