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What role will IoT and data play in the future of remote working?

12 Feb 2021

What role will IoT and data play in the future workplace?

In reacting to the changes and challenges of 2020, organisations across several industries have seen the benefits of remote working, from higher productivity to lower costs and improved employee happiness and wellbeing.

As more businesses now look to make remote working a more permanent feature, technology can help.

The Internet of Things (IoT), along with cloud and data analytics, are the ideal technologies for businesses to use as they start to build towards the future.

Whether it’s improving interactions in the workplace or helping employees get access to better remote tools, these technologies can help provide valuable insights that businesses need to make informed decisions.

Transforming healthcare

The need to access medical services remotely has never been more prevalent.

Many patients, nervous about the impact of COVID-19, are concerned about visiting GPs or hospitals in person. Yet they still need access to health services, and medical professionals need to be able to provide services and monitor the health and wellbeing of patients.

With the use of communication tools like video conferencing, health professionals can hold virtual face-to-face consultations with patients to retain that personalised care.

By adding IoT and connected devices, they can then take remote health monitoring to a completely new level — allowing healthcare professionals to monitor patients remotely using wearable health monitors, check on their progress and provide the best health advice.

For example, Diabetacare provides 24/7 diabetes care by using blood sugar level devices to remotely monitor their patients.

Working together, we’re able to send the data gathered through the devices to a secure, central server where specialist doctors can review the progress of patients anytime, anywhere and create personalised treatments.

Remote monitoring in the factory

It’s easy to think of key workers as being mostly those in the emergency services, but there are other industries which have struggled to make remote working possible.

For manufacturing or logistics organisations, they’ve had to focus on adapting health and safety protocols to protect workers who are keeping the economy moving in other ways.

IoT and data analytics is already having an impact here by allowing businesses to remotely monitor the performance of machinery. Not only does that increase safety as staff don’t have to constantly monitor it in person, but it means you can limit the number of people on the factory floor too.

If the data shows discrepancies in machine performance, employees can deal with issues proactively.

Working with Feintool, we’ve been able to reduce machinery downtime.
Producing parts for automotive manufacturers (up to 100 million items a year, with machines working 24/7) any maintenance must be planned in advance and proactively monitored to reduce downtime.

Using IoT technology they’re able to ship machinery anywhere in the world and activate the connectivity from anywhere. The machines are connected via 3G devices, which are then connected to an IoT Managed Connectivity Platform, meaning each one can be monitored remotely.

If a machine shows drops in performance, remote workers can alert staff at the factories who can then carry out in-person repairs, or schedule repairs at a more convenient time to avoid disruption to the supply chain.

Returning to the office safely

While many businesses may continue to use remote working long-term, more staff will return to the workplace in the future. But this is a process that needs to be managed safely.

Managers need access to real-time data to understand where the risks are when employees eventually return.

Whether it’s connecting cameras that can monitor the skin temperature of people trying to enter the building, identifying those with possible symptoms of an illness, or using data to understand how employees move around the workplace to develop safety procedures, IoT will help plan these future workplaces.

For example, using the insights provided by connected devices, businesses can be more creative with how they design or plan collaboration spaces, ensuring employees can safely meet team members.

Similarly, they can stagger start and finish times for employees to help manage capacity at the entrance and exit.

The data-driven workplace of the future

Whatever the future workplace looks like, companies are already beginning to plan new layouts and are using technology to get it right.

Not only will this produce better results, but it will also help build confidence in the workforce that, when they do return, their health and safety is being prioritised.

As IoT and data technology continue to develop, they will transform the workplace into spaces we haven’t yet imagined.

Ready to find out more? See how the right remote working solution can help prepare your business for the future.

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