What is Connected Worker Platform? A Guide to Benefits, Use Case, & Examples
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There is no denying that the global pandemic has impacted how workers operate and perform their tasks, but it has also highlighted the need for investment in industrial frontline workforces, including manufacturing, field service, automotive, and many more.
As a result, this lack of investment continued relying on old traditional ways of communication, paper-based instructions, in-person assistance, and a stable workforce. We can say that the pandemic has exposed these issues, but it is not the sole challenge for the industry. There are some more challenges that were faced by industrial companies before covid-19 like:
Unplanned Equipment Downtime
Unexpected accidents in the field
In addition, the emergence of digital technologies is leaving many industries behind in meeting the needs of the frontline workforce, who is an integral part of the process. In the era of Industry 4.0, workers can’t rely on outdated and old traditional ways for operations.
Hence, it’s high time for industries to take a step toward digital transformation. For some, the lightbulb has already been lit. They know how important frontline workers are to them. They started investing in an integrated approach – empowering their frontline workforce with a connected worker platform.
In this article, we will have an in-depth study of the connected worker platform and how Plutomen’s Connected Worker Platform helps your industry achieve Operational Excellence.
What is Connected Worker Platform?
Connected worker platform allow industrial companies to provide digital software tools to their workforce to improve the way they work in industrial settings. These digital software tools are connected with mobile and wearable devices, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. This helps to connect workers, allows organizations to deliver the right support, training and improvement.
When workers are more connected, organizations can easily access quality sources of activity, execution, and data. Moreover, with the help of proper AR tools, they can gain deeper insights into the areas where improvement opportunities are present.
AR-powered Connected worker platform provides remote assistance and guidance for frontline and service teams. With this technology, an industrial sector not only thrives in the new norms but also makes way for a sustainable work environment.
Importance of Connected Worker Platform
In today’s digital era, to unite new technologies with workers has become a necessity for continuity and for operations success. Hence, the need for the industry to invest in connected worker platform has become important, especially for the production teams.
For example, in some circumstances, operators are not able to share their ideas with management. Reason? Improper communication. Over time, these ideas were lost in the shuffle. This is where the connected worker platform comes in and can provide a solution to this problem.
Connecting workers with digital tools are able to share their ideas remotely, leading to better performance. Moreover, they can access information anytime, anywhere.
These frontline workers leverage various digital technologies to improve and connect in a real-time augmented environment where they can visually see, communicate, and resolve critical issues as they arise. This leads to an enormous benefit that connected worker platform offer your frontline workforce.
Benefits of Connected Worker Platform
In a scenario where digital is increasingly present, it becomes essential for the industry to remain competitive, and this is only possible with a connected worker platform. And it can be said that if the workers are connected, they might even represent the future of the entire industrial field. This is all possible with a connected worker platform as it comes with several benefits for the workforce, and for organizations too. Some of those benefits include:
Integrated and Responsive System
A connected worker platform is able to connect with different technologies. As a result, this leads to an integrated and responsive system that understands industrial workers’ actions in real-time.
This implies that the frontline workforce is connected with a responsive and automated system that assists in exchanging data with other devices and machines in the industry.
With a connected worker platform, workers can access the same data, reducing the chances of human errors. These platforms enhance workplace safety and streamline Industry 4.0 operations at every stage.
Connected worker platform allows worker to perform their task from anywhere, anytime as if they are present on-site. And this benefit becomes more relevant within the COVID-19 crisis. Because before covid, operators need to talk with the other operators regarding various plant operations to move from one shift to another. However, due to the guidelines provided by the government to control the situation, many industries decided to avoid direct contact between operators. Hence, less physical interaction between workers was made possible with the right digital tools, which also increase mobility. Additionally, these tools can be used to empower operators to work more effectively and allow supervisors to manage every task remotely.
Paperless Technology – Eco-friendly and Less Prone to Human Error
Workers now no need to waste long hours waiting for the information and updating data. As connected worker platform overcomes all these traditional pitfalls of paper-based instructions, resulting in lesser human error. Paperless technology provides each worker with exact information whenever needed and step-by-step instructions to perform their task.
Moreover, digital work instructions are more sustainable and good for the environment because they produce less waste. With AR-based digital work instructions, workers can independently resolve issues and complete their work accurately and correctly.
Quick Access to Information
Most of the employees’ valuable time is wasted in collecting information in paper-based instructions. But, all thanks to the connected worker platform, all data is immediately visible to everyone else who needs it. Users can access information through smart devices like smartphones, tablets, or wearables. In this way, workers are able to concentrate more on complex tasks.
With a connected worker platform, operators are able to access information in real-time. This information not only informs workers’ actions but also gives the management team the current status of activities in the workplace. In addition, connected worker solutions provide management with a real-time view of workers’ skills, help them identify gaps, and solve issues.
Greater Product Quality
In certain situations, it may happen that a worker skips certain steps during the process, resulting in low quality and costing time and raw materials. Hence to avoid this kind of problem, the connected worker platform can provide with digital checklist with step-by-step instructions supported by images or videos. This simplifies frontline workforce work and enhances productivity, and that’s a win-win situation for the organization.
Greater Safety in The Work Environment
Last but not the least, a connected worker platform improves worker safety at the workplace. Connected workers are provided with all safety measures about the machines and information on how to perform their particular tasks with minimal risk. On the other hand, the connected workers can quickly access digitized guides, manuals, and step-by-step SOPs.
Connected Worker Solution – Market Outlook
In 2021, Connected Worker Platform Market was valued at USD 3.74 Billion, and it is expected to reach USD 15.38 Billion by 2030. The connected worker platform enhances worker safety in the manufacturing industry, power & renewable energy, healthcare, and other industrial sites with the use of smart devices like smartphones, tablets, or wearables.
Furthermore, factors for the growth of connected worker platforms are technology advancements, need for collaborative working environment, and safety concerns. Connected worker solution is a growing need among organizations, as it helps to achieve higher efficiency and productivity.
Essential Key Areas For Determining Connected Worker Solution?
A step towards digital transformation may sound easy, but it is the most challenging task. Hence to help you out, we have shared four key areas which should be undertaken while implementing a connected worker solution.
Determine your Organization Goal
Before implementing a connected worker solution, it is essential to start with a clear formation of goals. Ask yourself the following questions:
What goals are your organizations trying to achieve?
Which issues need to be fixed or improved?
Are you looking to enhance worker safety?
What information is suitable to measure workers’ performance?
Discussing these with your team members will assist you in better understanding any issues or areas for improvement.
Understand Your User Environment
Great technologies and great thoughts should be there to work in any field. Solutions that are unreasonable or impractical will always fall short of their potential. Due to this reason, the second essential step in implementing a connected worker platform is knowing the user environment. This understanding will serve as the foundation for how you create, present, and visualize the data given to your frontline workforce.
Identify Your Needs
The next suggested step is to understand your data requirements after having a complete understanding of the performance outcomes and user environment. This helps determine what data is already available with an organization and what additional data could be needed.
Implementation of Solution
Workers are an essential part of the industry. Before implementing the connected worker platform, be careful of how the workforce may react to the new technology that may be unknown to them, and that may cause disruption to long-established work habits. Instead, involve them early in the change as soon as possible. Show how your solution may benefit each worker on a daily basis in the real world by highlighting safety improvements.
With any technical changes, experimenting is essential too. Hence, it is suggested to start with small pilot projects and test your ideas to determine whether it is good to go or not. Establish goals, evaluate results, and, if any are not met, ask the reason. Prior to scaling up your solution, analyze and learn from the results of your pilot. As you carry out the solution, consider the effects of scale on resources, time, and cost.
Top Use Cases for Connected Worker Platform
There are various use cases of connected worker platforms that can be categorized differently. This includes occupational safety, field service, quality & compliance, learning & development, and operations.
How Does Smart Wearables Benefit in the Production Process?
Smart wearables usually include smart helmet and smart glasses. Smart helmet (RealWear) provides intelligent solutions, and smart glasses improve visibility and provide real-time solutions. Let’s have a deep understanding of Smart Helmets and Smart Glasses:
There are several risks present in the factories. For example, sometimes a worker may walk into an unknown place, like in a space reserved for harmful chemicals or in a high-voltage region. These are the static hazards. However, the production process itself may involve dynamic risks. To spot dynamic risks, it is essential to track employees inside the industrial bounds. And this is possible with “Smart helmets” equipped with sensors. Through this, workers are informed of both static and dynamic risks. In addition, it also alerts supervisors on duty and allows them to take appropriate action.
Due to the lack of knowledge, often workers are not able to perform certain types of maintenance tasks. And both cost and time increase when experts are called on-site to solve the issues. In order to guide maintenance work in less time and cost, “smart glasses” with AR-powered can be used. For example, if the worker is unable to perform their respective work, they can connect with experts with the help of AR-powered smart glasses. The remote expert sees what the worker sees and solves issues in real-time.
Customer Success Story with Plutomen
Organizations have benefitted from the use of technology, whether it is to streamline processes, reduce human errors, or analyze data to improve operational decisions. Here is the success of story of one of our clients who have received many benefits with Plutomen’s Solution.
One of the renowned digital technology companies faced significant challenges in effectively understanding and addressing the problems faced by their clients. Despite their skills and expertise in the respective field of digital technology, they faced issues in identifying the problems faced by their clients and were not able to provide timely solutions. Due to this, there were delays in projects and increased machine downtime and maintenance, resulting in a significant loss to the company.
To cope up with the challenge, the company decided to turn towards Plutomen Connect to understand clients’ issues and provide them with timely solutions. Plutomen Connect provided real-time troubleshooting, quality check, inspection, and on-the-job training at production sites and execution installation-servicing fields. As a result, the company was able to identify and resolve issues quickly, improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of its service.
The implementation of Plutomen connect was like a game-changer for the company. It has reduced the loss of revenue and, at the same time, has increased workers’ productivity. In addition, the company saves on travel, and the data is also structured in a well manner. With Plutomen connect, the company is able to provide the necessary support to their clients whenever needed.
How can Plutomen’s Connected Worker Platform help your industry achieve Operational Excellence?
With 10+ years' experience of Hiren Kanani has helped Plutomen ensure smooth communication between the company and the client for swift project delivery with fewer iterations. He is CTO & founder at Plutomen.
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