Why Should HR Leaders Embrace The Internet of Things?
Laurie Fainer, Director, People, Culture & Values
April 27, 2022
It may not seem immediately obvious why HR leaders should be paying attention to the Internet of Things (IoT). Some HR leaders may not even be aware of exactly what IoT involves, but there are some interesting reasons why it can change the way that people perform their jobs – and therefore it is an area that HR management should be aware of.
First, a quick primer in case you don’t know anything about IoT. It is a term that describes how almost any electronic device can now be connected to the Internet. Sensors that are built into physical devices can feed real-time information into a network for a variety of uses.
We have all seen how the millions of smart devices in so many modern homes have become control hubs for speakers, lights, and baby monitors. All this connectivity is a part of the IoT, but the use of very small sensors means that there are many industrial solutions that can be deployed in the enterprise.
At WatServ, we are already helping to deliver tremendous value across a variety of industries, including:
- Fleet or asset management: track your vehicles or devices in real-time to get detailed insight into how your assets are used.
- Digital twins: create a digital simulation of a real-life object, such as a building, so you can monitor and improve use. For example, monitoring how doors and windows being left open or closed can impact on heating or cooling inside an office building. The sensors on each door and window along with temperature sensors allow a real-time model to be constructed and managed.
- Manufacturing: use sensors on plant machinery so maintenance can be predicted and anticipated, rather than just scheduled on a routine basis. So instead of checking your machinery once every 30 days the sensors will let you know exactly what needs to be checked and when.
- Property: using sensors to manage air quality, temperature, and occupancy can allowed property managers to focus on issues as they arise or even to predict where property issues are likely to arise – instead of just planning routine inspections or reacting to resident reports.
IoT Opportunities in HR
But there are also more direct areas where trackers and sensors can be directly integrated into wearable clothing technology, creating an environment where people analytics can be automatically applied because of IoT systems creating data automatically. This might include:
- Connecting devices so employees can book meeting rooms, connect with any team member, or exchange ideas without needing to load specific apps or websites – they are constantly connected.
- Managing flexible workspace, for example tracking who is in and out of the office automatically.
- Monitoring team wellness and health.
- Monitoring performance and automatically offering skills advice and coaching based on what help is needed. This can be applied in environments such as contact centers, where employees are used to receiving advice from both real and virtual coaches.
The use of IoT can dramatically change how your team manages assets, maintains expensive equipment, or creates the ability to predict where issues may arise in future. It can also be used to monitor performance and guide on coaching for improvement. Therefore, IoT is not just a subject that your technology teams needs to focus on – the deployment of a solution is only the beginning of your relationship with IoT.
The caveat is that IoT when applied to HR processes – either directly tracking performance or just advising on work efficiency – needs careful security and a respect for employee privacy. For example, employees that are happy to share wellness data automatically should be sure that their data is safe and know that there is a benefit in doing so.
This may drastically change the processes your company uses – introducing efficiencies that were impossible before real-time sensors were available on this scale. Pilots can be used to test ideas before committing to an enterprise-wide solution, so you can go gently, but once you start thinking about the opportunities you will keep on finding innovative ideas and solutions that have probably never been considered before.
The WatServ team has experience building IoT solutions for businesses in many different industries. We can work with your team to establish the exact use case requirements before specifying a technical solution. This takes the guess work in an IoT solution out of the equation and moves the process to the design and implementation stage faster.
WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps organizations digitally transform through cloud technologies and managed services.
Serving clients as a trusted advisor since 2006, WatServ provides experience-tested, strategic solutions across all stages of the digital transformation journey. Clients choose WatServ to migrate infrastructure and applications to the cloud, secure critical data, implement disaster recovery, deploy virtual desktop, enable data-readiness for productivity solutions and manage IT environments.
Our clients span a broad range of industries, and we’re a global supplier of IT services for many Brookfield Portfolio Companies. To help our mid-size clients, we provide scalable offerings that simplify cloud adoption and drive business optimization. For enterprise clients, we co-create cloud solutions that enable stability and efficiency for complex IT tools and processes.
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