Companies are spending billions to digitize machines and gather data at what I consider to be an alarming rate. But what’s even more amazing to me is that these same organizations aren’t doing anything to support their most value asset – the workers. Every day in the U.S. millions of people do their jobs without the benefit of data. Data that, with IoT, is readily available.
Think about it. We can tell the second a machine is vibrating too much. Yet if a worker sees an opportunity to save a company millions - or reports a potentially dangerous situation that could cause injury or worse - their only options are to either find a piece of paper and write a note, or tell a manager who may or may not be interested in passing the information along. Billions of dollars are spent every year to train skilled workers - but we don’t let them use what they learn to communicate opportunities for productivity, quality and safety.
When I mention this, I sometimes get the response “Who cares – they’ll all be replaced by robots soon anyway?” What’s ironic is that the literal “king of robots”, Elon Musk, completely disagrees that technology will eventually replace people. He realized that would never happen when he decided to build cars, and you can find countless interviews with Musk on that very topic.
And what is a robot, anyway? It’s not a “human replacement.” It’s simply a data-driven task execution machine. It receives data, does things and transmits data. Skilled trade workers without data are also just “task execution machines”, but think about it - how powerful could your workforce be if everyone had the ability in real time to receive and transmit data as part of the IoT environment?
- Ted Smith, President, CEO and Co-Founder of Corvex. Connect with Ted on LinkedIn here.