The conversation continues to grow around an interesting technology called the internet of things (IoT). It is beginning to shape how people live and how they work. It is a trend that many think will ultimately change the way workforces are managed.
The internet of things revolves around the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Interent, with no manual interference. This applies to things like cell phones, machines, headphones, wearable devices, cars, etc. The analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will be at least 26 billion connected devices.
Companies can take an initial step of harnessing the power of IoT by implementing wearables as part of their workplace wellness programs. When employers provide employees with sensor-driven devices that can track things like steps, heart rates, calories, and other health data, they are using IoT to potentially reduce health care costs and improve lifestyles.
This is data that can be used by companies when negotiating health plan premiums and other voluntary benefits with insurers. Future uses of wearable devices might help employees too so they know when and where they are most active and productive throughout their workday or if a chronic condition they have needs immediate attention and then plan their schedules accordingly.
Activity trackers can also provide HR professionals with a new way to promote training and educational experiences throughout their organization. Connectivity on this scale could provide new employees with real-time tutorials when they begin a new task or assign tasks and scheduling to employees based on customer flow.
The potential value of IoT is endless and for many companies supports a more flexible workforce management approach. For employers wanting to innovate and drive efficiencies a business case can be made for using IoT. It requires a plan with parameters and metrics to be effective. It also requires companies to figure out a way to store, track, analyze and keep secure vast amounts of data.
It may seem daunting for some organizations to consider the security aspects involved with IoT. But trying to understand what the opportunities and challenges may be is important, as is the potential impact that IoT can have on employee wellbeing and positive workforce management.
Source: Workforce. Internet of Things Could Be Next Talent Management Thing. August 2016. P10.