Made for firstline workers

Ubimax, November 30, 2019

According to a study commissioned by Microsoft, through equipping employees with mobile and dynamic tools, they become more productive and engaged, resulting in greater customer satisfaction and an increase of the overall business success. However, this change can only happen, when managers recognize the benefits of modern technologies and start to invest in them – such as AR.

With roughly 50% firstline workers make the majority of the workforce of an organization. Who are those firstline workers? They are the workforce directly in contact with the product or the service of a company. Examples of firstline workers are production line workers, store managers, or customer service representatives. This is quite similar to our perception of our frontline workers that we serve with our Ubimax solutions. At a typical workday, frontline workers can be in contact with customers, communicate and interact with their colleagues, and need to read and create documents or notes. Most of the time they are in constant motion. Hence one of the most important requirements for technology is mobility.

Meeting the Needs of Frontline Workers
Our main clients are situated in the industrial sector, let it be the logistics, machinery, manufacturing industry or workers of after-sales-services. Frontline workers are dependent on instantly receiving all necessary information independent of their whereabouts and at an exact point of time. Here’s where our solutions come into play as the study highlights the correlation between firstline workers’ tools and business success. Out of seven mentioned tools, Ubimax Frontline embraces four:

  1. Mixed/augmented reality
    Being equipped with smart glasses, connects the workers to the information chain. Through augmented reality, the workers can see all the important information that is needed to fulfill a task in their field of vision. This can be a checklist, step-to-step instructions with pictures and even videos.

  2. Wearable devices
    Another essential aspect for the surveyed workers is to be able to create and access information independent from their whereabouts. By equipping them with smart glasses, we make sure that they can focus on their actual tasks. Another benefit of our solutions is to make the workplace more ergonomic for the firstline workers by providing hands-free solutions.

  3. Digital collaboration tools
    Our remote support solutions xAssist and AS 2.0 allow for video-calls with multiple participants. With a live video stream, remote experts can help without being on-site. This can support the workers when facing difficult situations and when help is needed.
    Optionally, sensors can be integrated directly into inspection processes to even further reduce errors by providing the workers with instant feedback or concrete instructions. Besides receiving information, workers interact with the glasses in an intuitive manner. They have the possibility to take pictures or videos, create documents through a speech-to-text function or confirm steps through a voice command or by tapping on the glasses.

  4. Role-specific-application
    Workers only receive information which is specific for their current task. For example, the pickers in a warehouse only get instructions on what to pick for to fulfill the order they are responsible for, making it very easy to structure their tasks.

All these functions increase productivity because the workers can concentrate on their actual tasks. Shifting the focus to what they are best at: physical activity in the real world instead of time-consuming interaction with computers.

Managers are missing out opportunities
Although the technology is out there, only 23% of the firstline workers are saying that they are equipped with supportive technology. The study shows that managers do not recognize the potential for such technologies yet with solely 25% of managers are automating the routine activities of the firstline workers. One can see that there is still room for improvement when only 17% of the firstline workers claim that the most useful tools they are currently using are mobile devices such as laptops or smartphones. Managers do invest in digital transformation, however, in those investments firstline workers are not considered. As the study says such investments focus on information workers, or customer experience. Furthermore, managers have a misperception of what the company actually does for their employees to be more productive. For example, 67% of firstline workers answered that they have the necessary technology to be productive, while at the same time 85% of the managers claimed that their firstline workers are equipped with the necessary technology to be productive.

All in all, the study demonstrates the potential of wearable technology mixed with augmented reality for firstline workers, however, managers have not yet taken the incentive to introduce these technologies. In respect of the studie’s results, Ubimax combines the needs of the firstline workers in their solutions, by providing an innovative wearable solution that connects external experts and on-site workers, provides instructions and supports the workers in their day to day business. For further information and deeper insights into the study click [here] (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/12/MicrosoftFLW-Opportunity-Snapshot-120618-1.pdf).