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The wonder of wearables

27 October 2016

Like most industries, the health and safety sector is adapting when it comes to advances in technology. Companies are constantly competing for the most viable method of incorporating technology into smaller, more affordable devices in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve. HSM asks Andy Mee, technical director at HAVi why many health and safety service providers are looking at ways to properly take advantage of this ‘technological revolution’.

Generally speaking, I believe the health and safety industry has adapted to technological advancements very well. Take the emergence of cloud-based computing, exploding into the public consciousness around 2009, as a reference point. Now, with the arrival of reduced size technology in the form of ‘wearables’, I can already see a lot of organisations considering how to properly use these advancements for the benefit of our sector.

One thing that should become very apparent is that you can never stand still in terms of research and development of integrated technology. With this in mind, HAVi has been quick to adapt incredibly well over the last decade in order to provide for its customers. The trick is to focus your attention on two key aspects – looking ahead in developing your products for the future, but also taking the time to listen to your customers. Both factors heavily influence each other, and, despite incorporating new technology never being an instantaneous process, they require specifications, product testing and launch plans. As technology matures and becomes proven, we work on ways to make use of it in our systems.

Two years ago we started work on a project that aimed to connect our traditional HAVi monitor to a cloud-based network. We took notice of the rise of wearables in the public domain; Fitbit, Apple and Garmin are all brands that initiated the push into this territory, proving that there was something here worth investigating. A major application of wearables was quick to show itself – with a short tap you can track your health on a day-to-day basis wherever you are, and we felt compelled to make this a part of our offering. The next step was translating this idea of monitoring personal wellbeing to HAV monitoring whilst keeping a focus on affordability.

This led us to the HAVi Watch, our premier HAV wearable. Our cloud-based management and reporting system HAVi Total will pair with and command the new product, eliminating paperwork and creating a smoother health and safety ecosystem. HAVi’s new wearable will deliver tailored messages right to the user, making management and data collection much easier than before. Health monitoring is hugely popular outside of the workplace but not so widespread within it, we spend so much of our lives working that health monitoring should not be forgotten about when you arrive at work – no doubt we’ll see tremendous focus on this kind of technology in the years to come.

People want information at the push of a button. For our clients, this takes the form of vibration magnitude values or general data collection. Our clients want new and effective ways to monitor and control vibration. Speeding this process up is essential for improving efficiency, providing the client with more time through the use of our reporting system. These features must remain scalable in order to suit as many sizes of companies we can facilitate. Looking at the data, some businesses simply do not want nor require the latest technology so we of course still provide paper based systems as well.

We have put this same technology to use in developing our new website, The Tool Advisor. It allows us to freely share the data we have collected over the years on powered tools, allowing anyone to access it when they need help making the right tool decisions. This platform is continually improving and adapting to meet the requirements of our customers.

The potential for this kind of service is massive. These are exciting times for the health and safety sector, advances in wearable tech and integrated software certainly won’t stop at hand arm vibration. Monitoring other factors such as noise, dust and stress levels are examples of other avenues of exploration; I’m exited to see what lies ahead for the industry.