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Author's profile photo John Harrison

Mobility on the Job: What other apps other than core will you support? Wellness Apps?

I have been following the mobility topic for some time now and I have looked at it mostly from the business applications point of view.  That is mobility for Sales Staff, Inventory / Warehouse Staff (goods issue, goods receipt), maintenance and operations staff. But there are a lot of other applications that are lot there which to most people do not directly affect the business.  The question is are you going to include / support those applications on corporate (or bring your own devices).  An article on started me thinking about this topic. What triggered my question was this article called Mobile for wellness? Appsolutly!. The article talks about wellness programs for employees and that there are thousands of apps out there that help change a persons behavior, all designed to help improve a person health and well being.  One that app that was mentioned as an example was a step counter.  Where my wife works they regularly have a program that awards the staff for certain exercise targets and quite frequently counting steps during the day is one of the aspects of the program. Sounds simple, they just hand out a mechanical step counter and everyone in the program start counting their steps.

But an app? This also sounds simple, until you consider the environment that some of the people in the chemical industry work in (e.g. the need for Intrinsically Safe Devices, Class 1 Div 1, etc…).  Just install the app on the intrinsically safe device an everything is OK. But these devices are expensive, and the concept behind some of these “wellness apps” is that they monitor you all day. Are you going to allow an employee to take home the device so that it can continue to record their activity? Will the wellness industry start developing apps that can be shared and the data recorded for one employee during their shift be transferred to their own device so that the complete days information can be recorded?

From the article: “Employers have to be thoughtful about the tools they offer and how they are presented to users, said R. Ray Wang of Constellation Research. “A lot of the success of wellness apps is determined by how good the HR team is at implementing them.””

True, but has the HR team considered the non office workers and some of the physical device limitations that these people live under at work. You do not want to roll our a corporate program and then find out that a significant number of your employees can not fully participate.

While I fully embrace the mobile worker (after all I am one), There is more to it that just installing that app, and off you go. Particularly when you go outside the standard business apps and start looking at the employee.  One issue that immediately pops to mind is this: Privacy. If you do allow these wellness apps to be “taken home”  what are you going to do with the information? Will you health provider start change policies dependent on the activity shown by these apps.  I can just see a step counter app being attached to the family pet so that the employee makes their number while having a beer and watching the game. I know I would be tempted.

Any thoughts?

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