wearables for hr departments

Healthcare is regarded as one of the areas that will benefit most dramatically from new connected sensor technology -- often referred to as the "Internet of Things."

The possibilities are endless: fitness bands measuring physical activity; smart watches monitoring heart rate, calories and pulses; smart contact lenses measuring glucose levels in tears; and even electronic sensor tattoos showing skin hydration, temperature and electric signals from muscle and brain activity.

But what opportunities does this present for organizations looking to increase their employees' general well-being and generate healthier, happier workforces? Let's look at the possibilities that wearables create for HR departments and employee wellness programs.

improved consciousness of healthy activities

Just being involved in a wellness program or by having a wristband that monitors steps taken each day can create small changes in participants' behavior. More people will start taking the stairs or conducting walking meetings, for example.

personalized health plans

With wearables, staff can record their physical activity and, in return, receive points or ratings that would qualify them for a cheaper health plan. Or, based on information generated from wearables, HR teams can sit down with their employees to design tailored plans that consider each individual's unique health risks and requirements.

earlier warnings of potential health crises

With stress levels seeming to be on the rise, the risks of heart attacks and other catastrophes are an ever-present worry for managers and HR departments today. With wearables, we can analyze stress levels by looking at things like blood pressure and prevent stress-related health disasters.

improved camaraderie among employees

Setting up challenges between users and supporting one another on the paths to healthier lifestyles can be a hugely positive experience for employees. As users start connecting for the shared purpose of getting healthier, relationships are cemented, and the team spirit often spills over into the boardroom.

specific applications in dangerous work environments

For those industries where employees are subjected to often dangerous work environments, wearables have some very specific applications. For mine operators, sensors can track an employee, showing where he entered the mine, where he's currently located, which mine pack and breathing device he's using and the state of the air conditions around him. For those operating heavy machines, advanced systems can track things like operator fatigue to help prevent accidents before they are likely to occur.

In fact, these are just some of the possibilities. ABI Research predicts that 13 million wearable activity-tracking devices will be integrated into employee wellness program by 2018. How will your organization capitalize on this rapidly growing trend?

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