Historically, industrial enterprise mobility and field force automation have focused on the ability to capture information from the field. Work completion was recorded and transmitted from mobile devices to a central system providing overall management of field workers. In recent times, it has progressed to record and manage information during the work day. Automatic time capture and remote sensors such as GPS, recently extended to include Wi-Fi assist and now beacon assist for more detailed location tracking, are just two examples of technologies that identify when and where field events occur. Then we have the emerging wearable technologies.
Fitness bands have increased the amount and diversity of information they can capture to include heart rate and galvanic skin response (how much someone is sweating). While not completely accurate, these technologies could be promising for managing perceived effort and fatigue. Remote video streaming and augmented reality views allow remote guidance and connection from experts to field staff. While still in emerging stage, this technology offers a promising glimpse into the future.
All of these new capabilities can create a complete view of the health and activity status of a field worker and, when coupled with a dispatch function, a chance to improve that field worker’s condition or a situation as a whole. If we can remove the emotional roadblock of viewing a field worker as similar to remote equipment and systems, we essentially have the foundation of a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. Viewing enterprise mobility in this way gives us insight into the current and future trends.
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