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Connected Worker 2.0: revolutionizing connected operations

Connected Worker 2.0: revolutionizing connected operations

The rise of Industry 4.0, has allowed the development and expansion of countless new technologies targeting productivity, well-being, and safety. Among different operational areas, one stands out: frontline worker productivity. Shop floor and field activities have historically been resistant to change, leading to generational inefficiencies that hold organizations back.

Connected worker technology sought to transform frontline workforces by digitizing legacy methods and ensuring real-time communication and collaboration between workers. But now it is time to take this concept further. Connected worker technology has seen a steady adoption in manufacturing and field activities and its results are now measurable.

As a part of a culture of continuous improvement, it is necessary to focus on transforming connected worker solutions and revolutionizing, once again, the industry and its operations.

Identifying the needs of Connected Worker 2.0 Solutions

Connected Worker solutions emerged as a response to legacy ERP and MES systems which focus on managing and planning operations but lack frontline and execution functionalities. Connected platforms integrate with these types of software to substantially transform frontline workers’s lives (execution, training, assistance, and performance review). By combining digitalization, digital and AR-based task executions, real-time monitoring, training, team and task management, and remote assistance, connected worker solutions paved the way for a new reality in the industry in which software didn’t operate in silos.

Ultimately, such efforts seek to introduce a continuous improvement strategy to enable organizations’ continuous review of their operations. However, this logic can’t be applied to organizations only but rather to the promoters and developers of connected work technology.

That is why it is time to improve this technology. This can be done by understanding the needs of businesses and adapting digital solutions to such realities.

The attraction and retention of workers are key points. Nonetheless, other equally relevant issues, include empowering workers during execution, ensuring compliance with safety regulations, reinforcing collaboration tools, expanding features, and adopting innovative and relevant technology that can benefit organizations.

The Strategic Areas for the new Connected Worker 2.0 age

To better serve organizations we are identifying crucial areas in connected worker solutions to be improved. We are also going into detail on how these changes will help advance businesses’ experience and results.

Usability – simplifying operations

Technology adoption rates in the industry have historically been unbalanced. While businesses tend to introduce new machinery and automation equipment, frontline processes usually remain unchanged, resulting in low technology adoption by frontline operators.

Consequently, connected worker solutions must deliver a user-friendly experience. Of course, this is required by all platforms regardless of their operational area, however, the first stage of the introduction of connected worker platforms focused mainly on functionalities rather than usability.

Navigation experience and the introduction of pre-defined work templates are crucial to help businesses get started with a new platform. Especially, when they have a high number of processes to digitize and are adopting a new solution.

Collaboration and connectivity – improving interactions

Connected Worker solutions are first and foremost all about collaboration and connectivity. As a result, unsurprisingly, the Connected Worker 2.0 platforms must further explore real-time data and improve worker interaction.

Giving workers more real-time information and allowing them to interact with managers and colleagues is crucial to increase efficiency, help resolve issues, flag potential problems, and contribute to the creation of a grid of live events.

This is particularly relevant for processes that require several workers to work together (such as LOTOTO processes or other complex maintenance processes) and to ensure the safety of workers.

Cutting-edge technology – leveraging innovation

One of the key aspects of Industry 4.0 and connected worker movements is the adoption of new technologies. As a result, connected worker platforms are expected to improve their services by providing clients with relevant functionalities powered by cutting-edge technology.

Augmented Reality, Digital Twins, and Computer Vision have been leveraged to add value to frontline workers’ skills. In 2024, new emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are enabling automatic readings, including the validation of protection equipment to record values in manometers, and to automate information, among others.

Skills management – a new age of training and retention

Since connected worker solutions focus on frontline workers, they have become crucial instruments to help shape their on-the-job experience. As a result, they need to expand to not only help manage workers but rather train, retain, and for upskilling. Connected solutions must include more alternatives to tackle underlying issues in manufacturing, including labor shortages, skills gaps, and retention issues.

These solutions can provide workers with faster and customized training, that can make workers more autonomous and value their skills. Skill matrixes, improved onboarding, and new training functionalities (based on AR and 3D models) will define new connected worker solutions.

Final Thoughts

The industry’s future of connected work has always depended on a continuous improvement strategy. That is why the areas listed above are crucial to the emergence of the next age of connected worker solutions and ultimately a new age of industrial operations.

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Interested in learning more about connected worker technology? Explore our blog!