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Wearable technologies boost employee productivity by 8.5 per cent, experts from Goldsmiths, University of London, have found.

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Alongside news that productivity can be improved, other findings from the Human Cloud At Work (HCAW) research show that wearing wearable technologies increases job satisfaction by 3.5 per cent.

The HCAW report is part of a two-year collaboration between Rackspace, the open cloud company and the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) at Goldsmiths, that investigates cloud-enabled wearable devices and their impact on UK businesses and consumers.

Dr Chris Brauer, lead researcher said: “These results show the potential power and application of wearable devices in the workplace from employee biometric CVs to organisational real-time executive dashboards for resource allocation. 

“Wearable technologies are arguably the biggest trend since tablet computing, so it’s natural that employees and businesses will look to use these devices in the workplace. Using data generated from the devices, organisations can learn how human behaviours impact productivity, performance, well-being, and job satisfaction. Employees can demand work environments and hours be optimised to maximise their productivity and health and well-being.”

Overall, the results of the study show that cloud technology is powering the wearable technology revolution – providing rich insights from big data and giving firms, employees and consumers information they can use to make positive changes to performance.

The focus on having the necessary IT in place to extract meaningful insights from the data is a key finding from the HCAW study. The research found that one employee created 30GB of data per-week from three wearable devices. Scaled across an organisation, this is clearly a huge amount of information that needs to be captured, stored and analysed.

Nigel Beighton, UK CTO of Rackspace, said: “Many wearable technologies are focused on how improving some aspect of an individual’s life – whether it is for health and fitness, focus and concentration, productivity or job satisfaction. 

“The big step change for both individuals and businesses is being able to analyse the raw data and understand the wider context surrounding the data, such as the weather location, posture, even temperature and mood of the individual. By focusing on the data as well as the devices, wearable technologies can provide meaningful insights that can be used to improve performance and satisfaction. Essentially wearable tech and big data go hand-in-hand.”

According to a Vanson Bourne survey of 300 IT decision makers in the UK, 29 per cent of UK businesses have some form of wearable technologies projects in practice. The main reasons for such projects are employee well-being (16 per cent), instant access to important information (15 per cent), and improved customer service (14 per cent). The greatest perceived barrier to entry for wearable technology at work was having an IT infrastructure that could take advantage of the data being collected and analysed (20 per cent).

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