Although the voice revolution has seemingly begun with a consumer-first approach, its application in workplace settings, such as Industrial Internet of Things, shows the impact it can have on businesses. The technology surrounding voice technology is fast becoming more supported, with enhancements thanks to natural language understanding and conversational AI.
A caring voice: IoT for health, medicine, and social care
A relative newcomer to the field, especially when compared to the industrial IoT (more on that later), IoT in healthcare is blossoming, with voice technology leading the way to provide a more personalised, instinctive service.
IoT in assisted living
For many of us, voice-activated personal assistants make our lives easier. For those requiring assisted living, they provide a lifeline to external resources at the drop of a word. Offering companionship and reassurance for patients, this hands-free solution relies on instinct to ensure assistance is only a shout away. IoT and speech recognition is already making waves in real-world applications. In the UK, voice technology is preventing NHS staff burnout by assisting in admin roles and teleconsultation. Similarly, in the US, Alexa-enabled devices are making headway in hospitals, helping patients connect with staff, families and services such as music.
Using personal assistants is just the tip of the iceberg for Voice IoT in healthcare, and it’s clear to see the benefits for recipients and care takers alike. Even patients who have lost the ability to remember instructions after a fall will instinctively use voice to call for help, triggering a response from the ‘always on’ solution. A step further; by relying on multi-network voice, connected devices can continually monitor health conditions. When combined with voice activation, using wearables and Voice IoT devices within a multi-network setting offer ultimate efficiencies. Take a look at the article from 2018 to see how IoT was tipped to make waves in healthcare, starting a ‘healthcare revolution’, despite a cautious initial approach from the NHS.
IoT in medicine
Not only has IoT improved care for assisted living, but it is also currently playing an important role in medicine. Telehealth has been increasingly popular since the beginning of the pandemic, due to its ability to process patients at speed and minimize admin. In 2021, Microsoft Teams simplified joining telehealth sessions from mobile browsers, showing the increasing demand for an accessible, patient-first response.
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK, recently implemented speech recognition into their processes, significantly reducing the time taken to send clinical docs between patients and clinicians. Moving forward, we anticipate a voice-first approach to admin, with the ability to speak into patient records, and replay a patient’s narrative.
In 2017, IoT technology was used in a groundbreaking way, as UK semiconductor and software design company arm created an attachment to asthma inhalers, connecting to the cloud to provide real-time data analysis on dosage, usage, handling and more. Much like for assisted living, it’s easy to see how the development of wearable and integrated solutions such as the example above, will give clinicians insight into to patients’ conditions – further facilitating telehealth and remote appointments. With a reduced need for a localized service, this will allow for better resourcing from further afield, especially helpful in niche industry sectors.
Speaking up for safety: Industrial Internet of Things
The impact of IoT in industry organisations has been so well developed, it even has its own naming conventions. Industrial Internet of Things, aka IIoT or Industry 4.0, has been very well received in manufacturing, due to its safety improvements, reduction of risk, and ability to tackle skill shortages with remote working.
IoT For All recently published a webinar detailing how Industrial Internet of Things has transformed technology within factories, including streamlining supply chains. By offering an ability to troubleshoot remotely, alongside predictive maintenance and automatic re-ordering, Industrial Internet of Things keeps production levels at an all-time high.
Internet of Things in manufacturing
With an increase in automated factories, Internet of Things in manufacturing will soon become the primary way in which we control and monitor systems. In place of in-person checks, which will always have room for error, automated data capture stored in the cloud will enable more frequent, accurate information between machine and user.
It’s not just IoT, in general, supporting the industry – voice technology is also seemingly leading the way. In 2021, appliance-maker BSH Hausgeräte GmbH (producing for Bosch, Siemens, NEFF and more) implemented a voice-recognition system to trigger machine movements in its assembly line. The innovative move has since saved fatigue and made the team much more productive, taking the processing time from four seconds to one and a half.
The group call: IoT for workers
IoT has also transformed the lives of workers. Thanks to the ability to work remotely, and increased support for lone employees, IoT is enabling a revolution of work-life balance.
IoT for remote workers
Fragmentation of the workplace is becoming an increased risk factor for businesses, so IoT developments have worked to keep colleagues connected like never before. Cloud-based applications and online working are second nature to plenty of us by now and was to many even before the pandemic. However, a real shift to remote working for traditionally in-house roles is becoming ever-increasing.
It’s not always working from home, often roles require a hands-off approach, and this is where the effects of IoT have resonated the most. For example, in Air Traffic Control, IoT has played a huge role in assisting skilled workers to safely monitor aircraft movements and supporting vital voice connections between towers and pilots. The ability to trust IoT in this instance has influenced the placement of towers since, and in some cases replaced the ‘out of the window’ traditional tower, for a remote alternative, best-placed for data connections. London City became the first major airport controlled by a remote tower in 2021.
IoT for lone workers
Due to the effects of the pandemic, staff shortages and lone working is becoming ever-increasing. For example, restaurants have adapted to offer deliveries, extending opening hours to accommodate, and opening up the potential for lone working.
There’s an undeniable risk when people work alone, particularly in customer-facing roles, and especially in new circumstances for staff such as delivery. It’s vital that workers continually feel connected to assistance and can easily alert for further support. Whilst location services are already well established, voice activation will speed up the process and provide an extra layer of security. Recently, Wearable Health Solutions disrupted the PERS industry by putting a focus on lone workers.
It’s clear to see the impact that IoT has on real-world applications. In each of the examples above, a reliable network is key, so IoT must be dependable. OV offer a multi-network connection, with access to over 600 global networks, we deliver a dependable solution.
As work shifts to be remote, there will also be a marked shift for employees. Learning to read the data produced by this technology will become the real skill, with the ability to identify outliers and project future disruption, thus further improving safety. We firmly believe that Voice IoT is the future of IoT for enterprises, read more why here.