How Wearable Technology is Changing the Construction Industry

How Wearable Technology is Changing the Construction Industry

The following is a guest post by construction industry blogger James White.

Technology has been making a big impact in the construction industry. Cloud services allow easy access to documents and the use of construction management software increases efficiency. The latest tool making a difference in the industry is wearable technology. Its full potential remains to be seen, but what’s available now is promising.

The practicality of Google Glass has yet to be fully unlocked, and Apple Watch is attempting to reach a broad audience. Blue-collar industries like construction are also being targeted with similar technologies. Wearable tech has the potential to be a boon for the construction industry, and early adopters could have a big advantage over their competitors.

One example of the usefulness of wearable technology is the smart safety glasses made by XOEye Technologies. With these glasses, a live feed from the workers is transmitted back to a command center, where an experienced veteran provides instant advice to on-the-job problems.

Lee Co., a building maintenance company in Tennessee, told Fortune that they’ve been using these glasses with much success, especially since they’ve lost some of the most skilled workers to retirement in the past few years. These glasses help bridge the gap in skills and quickly fix problems as they arise.

How else could wearable technology make a difference?

It’s a new industry that has yet to fully mature, but developers are seeing countless possibilities that not only increase efficiency, but also save lives. Technology that provides real-time updates already exists for machinery, but now it’s a possibility for the workforce as well.

At the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, researchers are working on smart safety helmets that can monitor the wearers’ blood gas saturation levels to ensure the wearer is safe from toxic fumes.

Human Condition is working on another development that could increase workplace safety. Through special vests and helmets, they hope to include impact sensors, an airbag collar in the vest to protect from a fall, and GPS to provide location information in case of an accident. Temperature sensors to prevent heat stroke are also possible.

What About Smartwatches?

Smartwatches, like the Apple Watch, are getting a lot of attention, but it remains to be seen how useful they can be on the worksite. Some of the existing watches might not hold up during construction work, but others advertise themselves as being more rugged. In theory, they have some potential in the field. They could monitor health levels to ensure worker safety and provide hands-free calls without having to reach into a pocket.

2015: The Year of Wearable Technology?

Wearable technology will be entering the mainstream this year, and whether or not it truly catches on remains to be seen. The success of this technology would mean many more options for the construction site. Think of the success of Apple and Android phones. With a big user base,

app developers will be more likely to deliver a host of apps that could fulfill everyone’s needs.

Outside of household product brands like Apple and Samsung, promising technology is being designed specifically for construction. From smart helmets to glasses providing real-time video feeds, the construction industry could be disrupted for the better.

*BIO: James White is an experienced home improvement blogger and construction worker. His writing has appeared in many publications, including True Look, Constructonomics and The Blok. James is involved in promoting the ideas of sustainable building and construction safety. And, when he’s not saving the planet through his blogging, James revels in exploring the latest developments in construction and manufacturing industries, its history, its advancements, and where we will be tomorrow.