October 14, 2016
According to data from Statista, the global wearable market is forecast to hit $19 billion in 2018.
Wearable technology in the fitness realm gained quick traction thanks to devices like Fitbit, but a new era of wearable technology for the construction and services sector is on the rise. Several construction utility companies are investing in such technology to dramatically increase safety in these jobs that are inherently risky.
A few examples of companies and new technologies are summarized below:
- Hourigan Construction (Richmond, VA-based) – proximity sensor safety vest- identifies when workers are in danger zones and keeps track of people in the event of an emergency
- Bosch 12V Max Heated Jacket – 3 warming levels, 6 hour run time for workers in cold environments
- Electric Fan Engineering – less than 2 pound body cooling system that can run for 12 hours on one battery for workers in hot environments
- SmartCap (Australia-based) – fatigue-awareness app/headband – reads EEG brain waves to detect and alert workers who are dozing off
- MbientLab (Bay Area-based) – safety wristbands to measure motion, temperature, heart rate, perspiration and motion patterns of utility and construction workers
- Coutts’ V-Watch Personal Voltage Detector – alerts workers in areas of energized material
There a few challenges to adoption of these measures that the industry faces. Namely, the high turnover and the hurdle of sharing devices between workers makes the technology even more costly. However, it’s likely going to pan out well worth the investment when safety becomes guaranteed, rather than a goal.