There is no question that the spaces in which we work are undergoing a massive shift. From adjusting to life with Covid-19, to the scaling up of remote work to the integration of powerful new technologies into our workflows, the offices and job sites we once knew are fundamentally changing.
As society reimagines how we work together, and how we can better connect our physical workspaces with our digital assets, organizations will need good data, and lots of it. Tracking technologies like real-time location systems (RTLS) are one of the most powerful tools for gaining actionable, up to the second insights that will help to define the next era of work.
This combination of small wearable sensors and connected anchor points is more than just a tool for tracking people or objects. RTLS is a fundamental component of a connected digital ecosystem for businesses that gives real-time insights into almost every aspect of what they do, from worker productivity to security, supplies, scheduling, and more.
Imagine the workplace of the future, one where robots make repairs, clean up after humans, and ferry supplies to areas that need them. Where workers seamlessly and effortlessly access and visualize data, management can predict issues before they happen and real-time insights supercharge productivity. Safety and security are streamlined because an interconnected system of wearables and robots create an ecosystem within the building and the workspace that monitors and proactively manages who and what is coming in and out of the area. Should accidents happen, biometric data is collected, safety teams are alerted and help is on the way. Each piece of the business whether physical or digital, is connected through the system.
All of this sounds like a far off scenario. However, with RTLS as a foundation, all of it is possible right now. Each of the functions described above depends on the collection and analysis of real-time data across what we call cyber-physical space. Whether you want to automate restocking paper towels for the bathroom, or you need to increase the productivity of thousands of workers in different factories around the world, the same technology can get you there.
The incredible versatility of RTLS can be seen in the following example. A hospital building is being constructed, and the developer uses RTLS wearables and anchors to manage the job site. It allows them to credential workers and gain insights into their daily progress. It manages restricted areas of the site, enhancing safety. It proactively alerts management when supplies are needed and guides robots to deliver them.
A year later, the building is complete. The hospital has purchased the RTLS system from the developer, and it is now installed throughout the building. In a matter of weeks the system is reconfigured to work within a healthcare setting, credentialing doctors and nurses instead of construction workers, aiding security, managing medical supplies — even tracking vitals on patients. In both cases, RTLS is feeding incredibly valuable data to management and owners, allowing them to see patterns, cut waste, and bring in additional resources when needed.
While some see RTLS as a useful tool for safely bringing workers back during the Covid-19 era, the possibilities presented by this technology reach far beyond today’s epidemic, towards a brighter future where we bridge the gap between the physical and digital, and make the places we work, work better for us.
John Boucard, CEO Tesseract Ventures