When you see the term “multi-national corporation,” you probably just think “very big company.” But many of these companies are actually doing important work all around the world. For example, consider IBM Research in Haifa, Israel. Part of IBM R&D Labs in Israel which employs more than 1,000 people, the Haifa labs started as a small research center more than 40 years ago. It now studies a range of software and hardware applications, from cloud services to cognitive computing.
One group focuses on mobile solutions, and within that, researchers are looking at applications for wearable technology at the corporate level. One area of interest is the use of wearables to improve employee safety. If a company can gather useful data about employee activities, this information can be analyzed to identify conditions and factors that can lead to a higher probability of injury or accidents. For example, certain types of problems might be avoided if workers receive an alert when temperatures rise above or fall below certain pre-determined limits. The data system can also help provide fast response in the event of an injury. By monitoring a workers location and movements, it may be possible to identify a potentially dangerous fall and to dispatch help immediately, without waiting for someone on site to notice and report the accident. Heart attacks could be identified by monitoring heart rate and employee activity. This could be especially helpful in situations where employees are working by themselves.
IBM is creating a platform that will make it easier to integrate data from a variety of sensors and wearable devices, and then rapidly analyze that data to detect problems. The best way to cut healthcare costs and productivity losses is to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring in the first place. A system like this could result in significant savings for employers, and could be a major factor in the adoption of wearable technology.