One of the great things about our data-driven age is the amount of information we can get on everything. From the calories in your breakfast cereal to the second-hand value of your car, information is just a few keystrokes away. And this is just the beginning.
Take personal protective equipment (PPE). Until recently, the most you might know about this was a) whether it was yours and b) where it was.
But since this equipment is essential for safety, it’s useful to know a bit more, like how much it has been used, by who, and for what. The ideal would be for every item to have its own passport: a record of its travels through life.
That ideal is rapidly becoming possible thanks to the advent of smart PPE management platforms such as Papertrail. This technology allows you to keep a track of every inspection from purchase to disposal, along with any extra information you may feel is useful.
This data can help you make decisions about what material to use for given tasks, for example, or when you may need to start thinking about ordering replacements.
Linking this information to each item of PPE is the first step in the ongoing evolution towards the Internet of Things, when intelligence will be embedded into everyday items.
In future, PPE items will be able to tell you where they are and what they are doing in real time, communicating via sensors and sending alerts when problems occur. We’re not quite there yet, but the passport concept is a good indication of the direction of travel.