Smart Safety: Disruptive Technology and the Future of Workplace Protocol

Industrial internet of things / industry 4.0 concept

From the promise of Amazon drone delivery to Uber Elevate’s air taxis to bionic suits and the wearable Internet of Things (IoT), advanced technology is transforming work, business, and daily life as we know it. Smartphones are so ubiquitous that most of us don’t even consider the next-level tech involved in their construction and functioning. But smart safety? That’s a new conversation.

Once bounded by novelty displays and digital inventories, today’s tech is taking center stage as a solution to more and more workplace challenges. In fact, the IoT and its ever-growing suite of wearable devices and data-collecting solutions may totally alter how modern workers function.

Tools for improving employee health, safety, and day-to-day happiness may soon be used across many areas of industry.

What and Where Is Disruptive Technology?

By definition, disruptive technology is unexpected. In some cases, it’s unwanted. These are the tools that redefine entire industries and sometimes even create new ones.

For example, Alexander Graham Bell’s “electrical speech machine” had no practical application — until the telephone generated an entire communications industry. The phone joins a long list of now-essential tools that entirely reinvented the ways we work.

  • Email has transformed the way we communicate in written form, making messages both instant and mobile.
  • Smartphones allow us to be constantly available, not to mention ever-prepared; many carry GPS navigation, music, cameras, and even professional resources on their person at all times.
  • Mobile computing has done away with typewriter technology and the need for a dedicated desk. The convenience and ease of mobile computing have also allowed for the creation of a vast, collaborative workforce utilizing remote talent, independent professionals, and an entire gig-driven economy.

Safety Protocol in the Industrial Sphere

While it’s easy to see how digital tech and smart devices impact our work from behind a desk, the IoT is also changing the quality of life offered in industrial workplaces.

  • Smart sensors in aviation and industrial environments are helping teams monitor engine performance, logistics and parts, weather forecasting, and even worker health in real time.
  • Bionic exo-vests for manufacturing workers have come a long way. Not only do these wearables support the back and spine, they also actively assist with lifting tasks and offer up to 15 pounds of assistance on each arm.
  • Helmets, goggles, and wristbands with IoT capability can gather and analyze employee data seamlessly during a shift, pinging alert systems immediately upon detection of a potential hazard.
  • Smart glasses provide safe, hands-free information access for repair technicians while reducing the risk of injury and enhancing ease of work.

Disruptive Innovation and the Future of Industry

Providing invaluable analytics and production improvements, today’s advanced technology is poised to impact our work on an entirely new level — regarding our happiness. Hitachi has already implemented employee wearables to track “organization activation levels,” and Honeywell is working to develop connected radar in order to provide pilots with real-time environmental information that will make their jobs easier.

As we anticipate the many new and fascinating technologies that will upend our day-to-day life, only one thing is certain: Companies and workers alike stand to score big.


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