In 1965, a man named Gordon Moore predicted the exponential growth of technology we take for granted today. According to “Moore’s Law,” technology – particularly computing power – will double every two years. What does this mean?
Take a moment to reflect on the impact technology has had on your life, and how much it has changed your day-to-day experience. A mere 1% of U.S. households had internet access in 1990 – and only 4% of Americans owned a cell phone. Less than three decades later, the vast majority of Americans (roughly 90%) have both.
Sarah Trimble-Oliver, Chief Information Officer at Cincinnati Public Schools, summarized this massive paradigm-shift perfectly:
“Five years ago, Mobile was only 2% of all internet traffic, and now it’s more than 50%. So there’s more traffic on the internet from Mobile devices than there is from traditional desktop devices. So if you haven’t started building a Mobile Strategy for your organization, you’re missing out on leveraging that opportunity.”
At the 2018 Gensuite Conference in Lawrenceburg, Gensuite VP & Strategic Business Development Executive, Donavan Hornsby, reflected on how innovation in technology has empowered Gensuite software & services to help transform customers’ management systems and processes.
“Gensuite started investing in Mobile capabilities about 12 years ago, with pocket PCs – we had Gensuite on palm pilots! That core, in-the-field functionality was part of our mission from the very beginning, before Mobile technology was readily available, particularly for EHS professionals,” said Hornsby.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Gensuite subscribers fully embraced Mobile, integrating this functionality into EHS&S processes site and business-wide. Gensuite’s investment in leveraging cutting-edge Mobile technology innovation is only one facet of providing top-notch solutions for the EHS&S industry’s toughest problems.
Harnessing various frontier technologies is integral in Gensuite’s mission The goal of our continuous investment in frontier technologies is to innovate and put the most effective, intelligent and easy-to-use tools in the hands of our users, to enable companies to meet their objectives and keep employees safer and healthier.
Making the Case for Innovation
When implementing a new technology, General Electric’s EHS Digital Acceleration Leader Sam Murley encourages a lean startup mentality – which places heavy emphasis on identifying, incubating & facilitating new technologies from the idea stage to pilot & implementation.
The first step to harnessing a new technology is fully understanding the scope and cause of the EHS problem that needs to be solved. Once your team fully understands the problem, the next step is developing a hypothesis that is both measurable and specific. Your initial hypothesis might look something like this: “We think we can reduce injury rates by 10% by using wearable sensors.”
Pilot to Scale
After establishing a measurable hypothesis, the next step is deploying the solution to a smaller, pilot community. This enables companies like GE to establish proof of concept for frontier technologies on a micro scale before considering widespread implementation, in addition to increasing internal buy-in from the very beginning of the process.
Frontier technologies offer unheard-of solutions to our industry’s toughest challenges, but without the measures of success integral to a hypothesis-driven approach, proof of concept can be tricky. Once you reach success within a pilot population, more widespread implementation can be considered. What does success look like? Murley explains that a key sign of successful implementation is the appearance of early adopters socializing the technology within the greater community, and seeing personal advocacy for the technology.
Technology of the Future, Available Today
Is frontier technology right for your company? Is it prohibitively expensive? Where should you start?
These are all valid questions. But one thing to keep in mind throughout the process is that it’s never just about the technology or disruption. We’re not trying to invent new processes – we’re striving to put new tools in your hands to improve existing processes and empower you to meet objectives and increase effectiveness. But if you’re looking to pilot frontier technologies at your site, consider these accessible solutions:
Compact, wearable devices are increasingly popular with health-conscious, connected consumers – think FitBit and Apple Watch – and they are enabling companies to accomplish similar goals. Wearables enable innovation-focused companies to solve a multitude of problems with smart sensors, GPS and vitality tracking. For example, voltage sensing wristbands have the potential to prevent employees from coming into contact with open energy sources, giving the end user a buzz to inform them of immediate risk in real-time – but the opportunities are limitless.
For companies interested in diving into the world of frontier technology, beacons are an excellent place to start. These devices are simple & affordable, sending out a location signal with a unique identifier to interact with smartphones, tablets and other Mobile devices. Beacons enable employers to geo-fence areas, locate employees and trigger context-specific alerts and actions in real-time.
Smart glasses offer remote guidance, video streaming and access to company databases via voice command. With platforms like Upskill’s Skylight, users can enhance auditing programs and save money using smart glasses and augmented reality software. With remote auditing functionality, companies can eliminate the need to send auditors to actual sites – and enable on-site auditors to live stream inspections for second opinions and accountability.
Industrial exoskeletons might not be the first frontier technology most companies would consider implementing, but they’re becoming increasingly common in the workplace. Exoskeletons ease muscle stress and lower exertion levels for individuals engaged in repetitive or high-stress work. These devices might seem like something out of a superhero movie, but they represent an extremely accessible way for factories and manufacturing facilities to increase accuracy and prevent accidents typically occurring from exhaustion.
Are you interested in learning more about trying these technologies at your site? Contact us to learn more about the opportunities to improve health, safety and sustainability with leading-edge tech solutions!