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Harnessing the Power of IoT for Field Workforce Management

Field workforce management is nothing new. For decades, workers in the field have been required to record and report data from a job site and keep track of the time they spend on the job. For example, a utility company technician logs monthly meter readings for accurate billing. In the past, he would log this data on a piece of paper, and bring that paper back to the office. Next, a typist would enter the readings into a computer, and the data would be sent to the billing office to generate a customer's monthly bill. When the technician returned to the office, he would fill out his paper time card to report his hours worked.

With the advent of mobile devices, the technician logged the meter reading and his time spent on-site in his cell phone and it was automatically sent to the office. Today, the process is evolving more. With additional automation in place, the entire process can be done without human interaction. This machine-to-machine workflow is no longer the stuff of dreams – it is a reality.

What if companies could place a sensor on the electric meter at your house to automatically relay a monthly reading to the utility company's office, then send it off to billing? This benefits the company in many ways: they will not need to dispatch a worker or incur the costs involved (salary, gasoline, time). It also benefits the customer: there is less chance for error in the readings, so you won't have to haggle with customer service to correct a billing error.

This is not just wishful thinking – workforce management of the future is now.

Challenges that Companies Face in Field Workforce Management

We live in a data-driven world. A wristband sensor tracks the number of steps you walk every day, the headlights on your car turn on at dusk, or your printer orders ink when the cartridge is empty, so you are familiar with sensors and automation. Beyond these consumer IoT devices, one projection states that Business-to-Business (B2B) applications will capture an estimated 70 percent of the value of IoT.1

Companies gather large quantities of digital data constantly, or at a specified time interval. But how is that data delivered to those who can take action if there is a problem? In many industries, troubleshooting is reactive. A problem occurs, and workers repair it after the fact. In contrast, equipment sensors could flag when service is needed soon, resulting in improved scheduling and resource allocation. Businesses yearn to become more proactive with maintenance requests, monitoring, and data analysis that leads to corrective action.

The Internet of Things (IoT) connects people, assets, and equipment to the network, using smart sensors, cloud-based computing solutions, analytics, secure wireless connections, and dynamic scheduling/dispatch tools for signals from remote assets. IoT uses a platform that connects with sensors and monitors events. It then translates this data into valuable insights and required actions. To those who are not present on-site, the field workforce becomes visible.

With the increase in office automation, more people work away from office locations. It is always a challenge for management to gather real-time data about workers' locations, productivity, and safety. Workers in remote locations face personal safety risks. Maintaining communication with these workers at all times is crucial. What if you could know if a worker falls down on the job, encounters aberrant temperature or humidity conditions in the field, or if you need to know his exact location so you can contact him?

Today's companies face the challenge of transforming mobile management to IoT and integrating IT systems to manage service, repairs, maintenance, accounting, and time tracking.

Industries Where Field Workforce Management is Critical

In manufacturing, transportation, construction, oil and gas, mining, and many other industries, field workforce management is key. Using real-time asset data from the field, companies can track their employees' movements, keeping them safe. IoT's ability to obtain, analyze, and use workforce data saves companies time, money, and effort.

Field workforce management ensures the safety of workers, gathers statistics online to minimize paperwork, and automates worker status.

Companies also benefit from automated customer service, inventory management, reduced cost and maintenance, less human error, more customer satisfaction, and workplace efficiency.

Benefits of Real-Time Tracking and Monitoring of Field Workers

By monitoring and collecting data, real-time tracking and monitoring of devices and workers detects, troubleshoots, and resolves problems in the field, from a remote location. This proactive remote monitoring leads to predictive maintenance. No longer a reactive process, this proactive approach makes workflows more efficient, less costly, and also conserves resources. Tracking the movements of remote workers via a personal tracking devices keeps them safe. Knowing the location and status of workers enables you to effectively manage your mobile workforce.

IoT and Magikk Personal Tracker Address these Challenges

IoT sensors gather real-time asset data from the field, empowering employees to obtain, analyze, and use this data to optimize equipment repair schedules and monitor the safety of workers in the field.

Magikk, a GPS-based personal tracking device, precisely tracks the exact location of remote workers live, providing a complete view of the network on a map-based user interface, populated with real-time data, on a single dashboard. This gives a command and control center a complete view of the safety, maintenance, and real-time data, including updated reports.

Additionally, it is important to shift control of the data from the remote field workers to the command and control center. A remotely working person can switch off her mobile phone, but with Magikk, the control of switching it off is with the command and control center.

Integrated sensors – temperature, ambient sound, movement – make Magikk an IoT instrument that enables remote situational awareness. Sitting at the home office, managers can assess and monitor the surrounding situation of the remotely working employee in real-time.

Magikk Personal Tracker comes with a single-click call button that connects the worker from the remote location to the office instantly. The SOS button sends out instant information about any impending danger or emergency to the operations heads for immediate action.

To enhance the security of the lone workers, Magikk sends out alerts for any unexpected incident, including sudden or accidental fall-down, no movement for a long time, and high-speed movement.

Next Steps

Companies strive to create proactive versus reactive workflow processes. Migrating from mobile-based asset management to IoT-based management is a challenge they now face. In a variety of industries, the proliferation of data leads to the need for efficient, real-time data collection, analysis, and corrective action.

Optimize field workforce management with cutting-edge IoT devices. For example, the Black Box Magikk Personal Tracker collects data to monitor field employees' actions, streamlining workflows and keeping workers safe. Harnessing the power of IoT in field workforce management positions companies to excel in a modern world by maximizing processes, workflows, and management while fueling customer satisfaction and profits.



Learn more about Magikk Personal Tracker