Webinar: The impact of wearables in transforming manufacturing industry

The impact of wearables in transforming manufacturing industry

Gartner research predicts, by using wearables, companies can save up to $ 1 billion annually in three to five years by diagnosing repair problems sooner.

Early adopters are already finding new capabilities and applications of wearables. There are numerous possibilities open to enterprises to transform their business using wearables.

If you are a manufacturer, and wish to know the possibilities of how wearables can fit in your enterprise, do join the webinar Suyati is hosting on April 19, 2017 at 10am EDT.  During the one hour webinar, “The impact of wearables in transforming the manufacturing sector," we will discuss on:

  • The current trends in wearable technology
  • Few use cases on wearables in manufacturing sector
  • Benefits of wearable technology in manufacturing
  • The way ahead for wearable technology in manufacturing

The content in this webinar will help you decide if “wearables” is a good investment tool for your organization.

Plus you’ll have the chance to have your scoring questions answered by our speaker. Don’t miss out on this webinar - register today!

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Webinar Transcript

Thank you, everyone for joining us for today’s webinar, Welcome everyone. I’m Abhilash, and I’m a marketing executive at Suyati Technologies. Just a little housekeeping before we get started, if you have any questions during the presentation, please type them in the question box in the go to webinar control panel. I’ll bring them up during the presentation, and we’ll also have time for questions at the end. And as you can see there is also a viewer window on the left, now this window will show you everything that we will be sharing from our screen, and you also have access to a control panel which is on the right-hand side from where you can type in your queries and share your comments.  Also, the webinar is being recorded, and everyone will receive an email with a link to view a recording of today’s event.

Let me introduce you to our presenter for today, Shruti Nair. She is a software developer with 3 and half year experience, Sruthi specializes in hybrid mobile applications using phone gap/cardova, javascript and HTML 5. She has completed MCA from Gautam Buddha Technical university in 2012.

Let me begin with introducing you to our company Suyati Technologies, is a digital transformation solutions company helps enterprises rebuild their customer experience for the digital consumer. With a niche and rich expertise in a wide range o f services like technology and integration services like CMS and CRM and e-commerce, cloud, IOC, analytics and product engineering.  We help many enterprises leverage the best on the web cloud mobile platform. We enable you to create insights to build customer engagement across all touch points to build a unified marketing approach. Suyati’s custom technology solutions have been successfully deployed in companies in the US, Europe, and Australia. You can use the hashtags and handles to post a question, or you can follow us or even tag us. Now without further delay, I will hand you over to our speaker, Shruthi.

 Thank you, Abhilash, a brief introduction about variable technologies. We have all used or seen wearables being used to count our steps to keep track of heartbeats; wearables are become a part of our daily lives. There are a few industries such as manufacturing and healthcare that have started leveraging the benefits of wearable to gain more efficiency in business. What is the potential of wearables in manufacturing industries and how they are going to change manufacturing works? Lets start by looking at some market research. Research firm Strategy analytics predicts a massive surge in the wearable industry with the revenue in the global wearable devices market expected to reach 37 billion dollars in 2020 from 1 billion in 2014. Similarly, Juniper Research predicts shipments of wearable devices to be almost 130 million by 2018. So what are the variables we are talking about and what manufacturing devices cover?

Wearables include smart watches or tags, smart glasses, smart gloves and smart sensors which are fitted to a garment as it is a vest to monitor. Manufacturing industries such as mining, oil, and gas, discreet production companies like those making cars, airplanes, toys, continuous production industries like oil refining, pulp, metal meting and then supply chain moving good, products and services from suppliers to customers. 

Wearable devices such as smart watches and glasses are an emerging breed of mobile technology that has the potential to contribute manufacturing outputs by giving the workforce a direct interface to the smart systems and automation investments around them. Smart g lasses are considered the most powerful of the  wearable devices and enable workforce to receive information and alerts from enterprise networks while remaining hands-on with their work. So next will be how wearables are impacting the manufacturing industry.

Wearables are transforming the manufacturing process, improving productivity, increasing efficiency and enhancing employee engagement. Wearable have the capacity of transforming the manufacturing process by affecting the security of employees, scheduling shifts and monitoring the product design and development shop floor operations to worker training and safety and thus have potential to play a major role in the entire value chain. Imagine an interesting scenario on the shop floor. Think of a quality inspector with a smart glass or other wearable technology walking the production line and seeing live performance matrix about the actual running process he is looking at.  The inspector could call up any relevant information by voice command or eye movements to see specifications, defect patterns or anything else desired. Another application might be in the warehouse. Workers could see maps with location of any item needed as well as where to deliver it. This could reduce time wastage in moving supplies and greatly add to just in time manufacturing schemes. It could be even possible to add some kind of learning capability to these applications so that the user experience becomes more and more useful and personal over time, enhancing the employee engagement.

Next, we will be looking at benefits that wearables provide to the manufacturing industry.  To attain efficiency. First is scheduling and time logging. Wearables allow employees to automatically punch in or punch out from their shifts using location aware smart wristbands. Allow managers to assign work and monitor the work, manage shifts. Allow managers and employees to manage their shifts based on changing requirements. Wearables can be used to automatically punch in or punch out employees. How is this done? The shift expert app by click software is a mobile app that allows you to employee scheduling and maximizing efficiency. The app can be synced with Samsung gear or moto 360 smart watches which are location aware to help the employees to automatically clock in when they enter the facility and clock out as soon as they leave. Can also be used by employees to view details about their shifts without having the need to go to the computer, login to account and check shifts and details. Trade shifts with other employees in case they need to change their shifts which can also be easily done through smart watches. Again manage their leaves. The app can also be used to measure the distance an employee travels on the shop floor and how much time is wasted. How exactly does all this help in bringing efficiency? The employees have no longer the opportunity to forget to punch in on time as it will be done automatically. The employer will know right away that they need to address an absence or employee not coming on time, hence minimizing downtime. Employers can also sue the distance traveled information to reevaluate the path and locations within a factory that specific employees visit in order to reduce excess travel across the factory.

Next would be Training and repair. Wearables are going to be the next thing in training. How?

Learning while working. Wearables will take the trainees out of the confines of the classroom to the actual work area; they will be better exposed to work that they are expected to perform, and training process will be faster.

Normally trainees have to attend the training session in the classroom, and then they are taken to the practical environment where they have to work what they have learned. In manufacturing the potential road block which the new employees face is the computers. Even though they may be tech savvy, they have to learn the software for recording work hours, entering data about new shipment of supplies, recording defects and all those stuff related to manufacturing. Removing employees from the training classroom and putting them on the factory floor speeds up the training process, the faster the employee learns how to use the machines in the real work environment, the faster they can accomplish the training work. Whether they is a new employee of machine for which training is required, smart glasses can be used to reduce the time, so the technician has both hands free to try out instructions on the videos being played on the smart glass. So how will this work? Suppose we equip our warehouse staff with digital finger pointing devices and smart glass. The pointer allows them to point to any box and see bar code data about its content displayed on the glass. This will not only eliminate the need for them to open the box, examine the content and then put the details to the system but also all this could be done in fraction of seconds. Smart glasses can also be used to improve the speed of the repair process. So if there is an issue with an equipment, employee can quickly click a picture and send it across to experts or live stream the issue to the experts through the smart glasses.  This way employee or intern can use the advice of the experts from the shop floor itself. This will also be helpful for employees who are on field. Next is

Better visibility and control

Visibility in terms of tracking employees, keeping track of where an employee is positioned, which employees can be moved in case of emergency or disruptions.

Monitor productivity issues

Less time is spent in collection and compiling of data and

Line monitoring.

Worker need not be tied to his workstation for long hours to monitor the assembly line.

Wearables can help in plant monitoring as well as employee monitoring. Wearables reduce the need for employees be tied to his work station for long hours to monitor the production line. Wearables enable them to monitor various aspects such as line, speed, temperature, pressure or failure of any machine or equipment. In case of employee monitoring, imagine if we could measure the fatigue levels of an employee and schedule their breaks Accordingly, this reduces the chances of accidents or mishaps due to lack of concentration or energy. Collectively speaking all employee wearables provide line managers real-time information about the work they are doing, with whom they are working, if there are any production issues, if they are on schedule, achieving their targets, before time or falling behind. All these data can help managers in better and faster decision making.

Next would be

Improving employee safety

Safety of employees is one of the key concerns in any manufacturing industry. Wearables have the capability to make the workplace accident proof by overriding human judgments. Wearable provide a hands-free environment for employees to work. Employees will be able to operate machines from a distance. Smart bands or smart watches can be used to monitor the employees’ biometrics and hence avoid occupational hazards. They can be used to measure body temperature, pressure or exposure to toxic gasses.

For those working in hazardous environments, mines, turbines, oil Riggs, wearables could make a lot more safer to work. Vests, helmets, watches connected with sensors can alert employees to hazards.

Use case I would like to point out. Dump truck drivers in Rio Tinto coal mines in hunter valley in are using a device called smart caps to avoid fatigue-related accidents on the job. The smart cap is capable of conducting EEG tests on the wearer. This data helps in accessing the worker’s alertness or ability to sleep, it also provides early warning to truck drivers approaching micro speeds and hence minimizing accidents due to fatigue.

We will look at case studies where actually these wearables are being tested and used to improve the production process. General Motors have created a solution with Google glass that hosts tutorials for employees to learn on the actual production line.

As mentioned earlier, GM focused on using technology to improve training. They worked with Plex systems to integrate a system that would integrate solution that would help employees to learn on the actual production line. Gm is also experimenting with Google Glass as a way to improve the repair process. If there is an issue with the equipment, employees can easily snap pictures of the broken machine and share it without the use of their hands. In late 2015, Honey well and Intel demonstrated a prototype of a personal “connected safety solution” that aims to reduce workplace injury and improve productivity.

How is this done?

System is made up of a series of linked wearable sensors that measure the  works, breathing, heart rate, pressure, motion and can detect if someone has been exposed to toxic gasses. The worker is meant to give plant manager and incident commanders the information needed and better anticipate unsafe conditions and prevent potential man down scenarios and could threaten worker safety. BMW is experimenting with a different piece of wearable technology for their factories :the Chairless chair. Created by Swiss startup Noni, the chairless chair is a piece of equipment that the employees can strap to their legs while they are moving and acts as a chair with the simple touch of a button. For factory workers, they have to stand for long durations which affect their health, posture, backs, feet, everything. So this unique piece of wearable technology provides the solution to the lack of seating and breaks in the schedule.

So what is the future of this technology?

This is just the beginning, as wearable technology evolves, we are sure to see more manufacturers adopt the technology to help plants become safer and efficient. Tesla one of the most advance auto manufacturers is no stranger to trying technology. While many consumers didn’t buy into Google Glass Tesla is reportedly testing out enterprise additions for inventory management in its formose plant.  While there are a lot of benefits the wearable offers, there are a few concerns that need to be handled.

Safety concerns

Safety of employees

Employees might take time getting used to the wearables, where physical injuries to the employees should be taken care of. Malfunctioning of devices can cause physical injury or illness to the users. It takes time to adjust to a pair of glasses and employees might hurt themselves in the training itself. So before migrating to wearables the prototype should be tested well, employees must be given adequate training and clear safety and use instructions, and their migration must be well planned and done in phases. Next would be the

Battery life

Power backup has become a challenge in manufacturing where people work for long hours without access to recharge points. Charging of wearables can be an issue especially when employees are expected to use the device throughout their shifts, and most of these devices will be using blue tooth’s or location GPS or wifi connectivity, all of which requires a good amount of battery life.

Next is

Privacy issues or cyber risks

Like all modern technology, even smart devices or wearables are bound to have cyber risks. So they must be manufactured keeping in mind data security. If data

Transmitted through wearable is not secured, it could lead to unnecessary problems, losses, incorrect evaluations and so on. As confidential data will be at risk, data is stored in cloud and they are transferred through blue tooth so adequate security measures must be implemented. Besides these cost of implementation may be another disadvantage, so these are small hurdles which can be overcome with the correct implementation and understanding of wearables. Staying cutting edge does not have to stop on shop floors, we can make changes to the company process immediately.  

 Now ill handover to Abhilash.

Thank you Shruti we will go ahead and find some time for the questions. Just a reminder, please type in our questions in the question box in your go-to webinar control panel.  Q and A session. We have some questions.

What are the other industry where wearables can play a transforming role?

Apart from manufacturing, healthcare and service industry as well can use wearables. Service industry as in one of the airlines is experimenting with glasses to customise their customer experiences. As soon as passengers report to the desk, the glass gets information such as name and destination of the customer to the desk so that they can be more personalised while addressing the customers. Similarly even in medical care also wearables are being used extensively.

Moving to next question

Apart from increasing the efficiency of employees and improving quality to products what are the other advantages of wearables?

Wearables are definitely going to save lot of time of employees. As they are not going to enter data manually into the system, all that will be done automatically through the smart devices. Lot of time is saved in data entry, and again we can easily view the data and make conclusions on the go, as and when required with the help of wearables.

So, that is it for today, thank you Shruthi, thank you all for attending the webinar. Please look for the follow-up mail that will alert you on the on demand status of the webinar, so you can review any kind of material you missed or would like to go over again. Any other questions will be taken offline. You can reach us at our social media pages or mail us at webinar@suyati.com

That brings us to the end of the webinar, if you want to find out any more information about warbles or digital transformation as a whole, you can go to our website, suyati.com, you can check out our resources, there are plenty of case studies, webinars and whitepapers you can check out. On behalf of Shruti and our team at Suyati, thank you all for joining us and taking your time to attend our webinar. Have a great day! Thank you.


Shruti Nair

A software developer with three and a half years of experience, Shruti Nair specializes in hybrid mobile applications using phonegap/cordova, javascript and html5. She completed MCA from Gautam Buddha Technical University in 2012.

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