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The Maintenance Management Blog

November 30, 2015

Managing Your Facility With A Smartwatch

Apple Smartwatch

Over the past few decades, technology has become an ever-present reality for those of us in the reliability and facility management business. As we look for ways to increase productivity, reduce downtime, and increase profitability, we turn to the ingenious new batch of tools the digital age has given us for new and unique ways to stay one step ahead of the game. One upcoming new tool may surprise even the most tech-savvy of maintenance managers, however: the smartwatch.

Growing up, most of us were familiar with the concept of smartwatches, thanks in part to cartoons such as The Jetsons and Inspector Gadget. Some of the old spy movies and television shows featured detectives with "high-tech" watches that would let them communicate with the "home base," too. Today's breed of smart watch is more than just a sci-fi fantasy and has much more sophisticated capabilities than simply relaying audio communication back and forth between two sources.

From monitoring heart rates and counting every step we take to measuring our sleep and allowing us to send emails and texts, smartwatches today are on the verge of having just as many features as other mobile devices (such as smartphones). In the near future, smartwatches will also be able to sync up with our homes to add true mobile-connectedness to nearly every aspect of our lives.

This power and connectivity will, of course, extend to the commercial market as well, and you can expect to see smartwatches really excel in productivity applications. One day, they may even be a pivotal part of our workplaces, as the simplicity and mobility they provide will make them essential tools to increase communication.

Facility managers will certainly benefit from this functionality. Picture yourself out of town and possessing the ability to check in at work without the need to load up your laptop or use both hands to awkwardly tool around with a tablet. No more trying to hold your cell phone in one hand and type on your computer as you look up the latest numbers to communicate them to your superiors: Simply dial your boss up on the smartwatch and have your hands free to bring up reports on your laptop.

Of course, the true benefit to smart watches will be once computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) begin to integrate smartwatch technology into their frameworks, a trend we are likely to see sooner rather than later. Once the meeting of smartwatch and maintenance software occurs, it will be a real game-changer for the industry. Expect to see every facility manager, if not every reliability employee, sporting the latest smartwatch when the two technologies meet and converge.

One area that smartwatches should improve for maintenance employees, too, is safety. No longer will you need to hold your phone in one hand to speak to someone while performing maintenance or driving a vehicle, and you won't need to hold up a piece of paper or tablet to look at instructions while you repair a piece of machinery or clean up a spill. We cannot stress enough the importance of hands-free technology in a work environment and its role in safety and productivity.

These are just a few of the ways that smartwatches will change the maintenance game. And who knows? As advances in screen technology and the way we think about productivity tech changes, we may see a time where traditional desktop and laptop computers are a thing of the past!


Lisa Richards

About the Author – Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards is an experienced professional in the field of industrial management and is an avid blogger about maintenance management systems and productivity innovation. Richards' undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering opened the door for her initial career path with a Midwest-based agricultural implement manufacturer with global market reach. Over a span of 10 years, Lisa worked her way through various staff leadership positions in the manufacturing process until reaching the operations manager level at a construction and forestry equipment facility. Lisa excelled at increasing productivity while maintaining or lowering operating budgets for her plant sites.

An Illinois native, Lisa recently returned to her suburban Chicago North Shore hometown to raise her family. Lisa has chosen to be active in her community and schools while her two young girls begin their own journey through life. Richards has now joined the MAPCON team as an educational outreach writer in support of their efforts to inform maintenance management specialists about the advantages in marrying advanced maintenance software with cutting-edge facility and industrial management strategies.

Filed under: facility maintenance, smartwatch — Lisa Richards on November 30, 2015