Huge advances in hands-free technology have allowed us to do almost any task — talking on the phone, answering email, using a machine — with voice commands or data collected through Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Whether it's a self-driving car or a Bluetooth headset, hands-free solutions have changed the way organizations conduct business. By adding this technology to your office through cloud communications, you can add a whole new level of flexibility, regardless of your industry.
It's certainly more convenient to be hands-free, but the benefits are even more concrete than that: Entrepreneur reports University of London researchers estimated using hands-free tools increases productivity by 8.5 percent and employee satisfaction by 3.5 percent. While this may seem small at first, this can equate to a large impact when multiplied across a company.
Here are four industries where hands-free tools are changing how business is done:
Previously, designing a new model car meant creating many hands-on prototypes because it was often impossible to spot problems from a 2-D drawing. Fortune reports that Ford now uses virtual reality (VR) to create virtual cars instead of physical models, which reduces costs and time to market. Employees no longer have to use their hands to build the models and can create new car designs using the VR gear. This gives designers more freedom to be creative and try more options. Employees do not begin manufacturing the physical cars until these VR models have been approved.
Pulling out an instruction book or training manual while working with dangerous equipment or complicated tasks is not a good idea. However, engineers often have questions during the manufacturing process, and lengthy PDF files are not easy to read in the heat of the moment. According to The Verge, engineers at Boeing now use hands-free technology to help quicken the production process and increase safety.
By wearing Google Glasses, the engineers can access instructions right on their glasses without having to use their hands to tap a screen or open a manual. They can also perform tasks using the glasses with their voice or gestures, cutting error rates in half and assembly time by 25 percent. This means their hands are free for other important tasks, such as building the airplanes.
Engineers at Boeing now use hands-free technology to help quicken the production process as well increase safety.
Hotel staff need to constantly be in communication with each other about issues that affect guests, such as preparing rooms, fielding guest complaints, and fixing maintenance issues. Vocera reports that while the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco hotel had provided staff with walkie-talkies and mobile devices, they were not using these devices, frustrating management.
Once the staff began using hands-free mobile devices, hotel management noticed an increase in communication because staff did not have to stop what they were doing to pull out their devices. Employees could now continue with their tasks while talking to their co-workers, improving productivity, communication, and level of customer service.
4. Facility Management
There are many moving parts and manual tasks involved in managing a facility, especially large ones such as airports. According to a Samsung case study, staff at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport have used smartwatches to help improve restroom cleanliness and service. IoT sensors count the number of guests in the restroom and notify employees after 150 guests so they can clean the facilities.
The airport now has accurate and real-time data that helps predict patterns of restroom use. Managers are able to collect data from the smartwatches to help improve staff service and efficiency. Employees can communicate with each other and send and receive data without stopping their tasks because of the hands-free component. Because changes such as cancellations, delays, and gate changes often happen at airports, management can now quickly communicate with janitorial staff to change cleaning routines based on traffic.
Even if you aren't in one of these four industries, you can take one of these concepts and apply it to your own business to boost your operations and communications. In recent years, companies have moved toward mobility. Now that they're almost there, the next step is a hands-free workplace. Is your business ready?
Contact Vonage Business to learn more about going hands-free can help your company.