These days, it’s common to see wearable devices everywhere, be it an Apple Watch, a Fitbit, or something manufactured by Garmin. As ubiquitous as this technology has become, it started with modest enough beginnings, originally aimed at the vulnerable elderly with the well known Life Alert systems that call for help after a fall or other medical emergency. Now that the technology has evolved, it can increasingly serve remote workers.
The wearable alert-device category of electronics was essentially developed with the aging demographic in mind. In the event that someone fell or had some type of medical emergency, they would still be able to call for help if they couldn’t get to the phone. Over the years, the underlying tech has continued to improve and now even smartphones have developed some features of the life alert system. Apple’s iPhone 14 can now even automatically detect if you’ve been in a car crash, alerting 911 as a result.
This technology has fascinating implications in other areas, too – particularly among the workforce. People who work by themselves or who spend a lot of time in the field face an inherently riskier environment than someone who is in an office all day. This demographic include not only delivery drivers (with an obvious surge in interest there) but also real estate agents, utility workers, construction workers and more.
All told, the popularity of wearable safety devices for mobile and remote workers is on the rise for a wide range of different reasons, all of which are worth a closer look.
Who Can Benefit From Wearable Safety Technology
The biggest and most apparent use case for wearable safety technology involves anybody who works alone. Real estate agents, for example, can meet with strangers and go with them to a potentially empty building every day. That’s time spent both in an environment that they’re mostly unfamiliar with and with people they may not know well. Two kinds of safety are considered here, both from the threat of theft or assault, and from an accident such as falling down a flight of stairs. In both situations, they could call for help with the push of a button.
Insurance adjusters too, usually work alone, and can be in unsafe situations from the nature of their profession – dealing with fraught people in crises, wrecks or disaster zones, or simply from being among the first on the scene of broken or failing infrastructure.
Similarly, utility workers stand to benefit a great deal from alert and alarm systems in wearable technology – the common image of the solitary lineman working on power networks high in the air comes to mind. high. Even with safety harnesses and safety training, accidents can occur.
Many wearable safety devices, ranging from those purpose-built as medical alert systems to the more generalized, consumer options such as the smart watch, have automatic fall detection built in, as well as GPS location tracking. Even if unconscious, a worker’s safety device could still alert an emergency contact list that an issue has occurred while providing accurate location data at the same time. Construction workers can also in many cases step into solo situations where workmates can’t see them and come to their aid in an accident. The lightweight, wearable call for help, and the algorithmic safety monitoring included, could save an otherwise irretrievable situation.
Mail carriers and especially delivery drivers are other prime examples of mobile workers who can benefit from wearable safety devices. The life of a mail carrier or delivery driver is largely one of solitude – outside of particularly busy times of the year like Christmas, most of these workers are by themselves all day, every day. Not only that, but in certain areas of the country it can get particularly hot during the summer. This can be a health hazard especially for those who are on their feet all day long. A wearable device such as a clip-on, pendant or wristband, is likely more reliable and ever-present than a carried device such as a cell phone.
In the End
Many industries and situations can benefit from embracing wearable safety devices for mobile workers. The explosion in popularity of at-home deliveries alone, especially since the pandemic, makes a compelling market influencer. And considering that approximately 23 million people in the United States currently have a job that sees them work alone, the technology trend is obviously one that won’t be going away anytime soon.
As the adoption broadens to many other sectors of the population, the advance in wearable technology continues to benefit the older generation also, especially as they increasingly opt to age in place in their existing homes, and strive for an active lifestyle. One estimate forecasts that by as soon as 2026, some 37% of people between the ages of 65 and 69 will still be actively employed. Not only may they face all of the aforementioned challenges of mobile or solo work, but they’ll also potentially be dealing with issues pertaining to their age too. Wearable safety, health and alert systems can address both of these concerns at the same time.