Looking Forward

Looking Forward

Most people who enjoy the Back to the Future Trilogy will say the first movie is their favorite. I, however, enjoy watching how writers in the 1980s thought the world would operate in the future year of 2015.

One of my favorite movies is the 1989 sequel Back to the Future Part II. I know this is an unpopular opinion, as most people who enjoy the Back to the Future Trilogy will say the first movie is their favorite. I, however, enjoy watching how writers in the 1980s thought the world would operate in the future year of 2015.

2015 has come and gone and we definitely don’t have flying cars, hoverboards or dry-cleaning clothes, but there are a few technological advancements that the film did correctly predict such as video chat systems, tablet computers with fingerprint scanners and wearable technology. I bring up this movie to show that we do have a lot of say in what happens in the future.

One of the articles in this issue of OH&S predicts what trends the safety industry will see in 2020. It touches on technology that we already see in our everyday lives, such as social media, streamed entertainment and smart homes and ponders how these advancements could slowly creep their way into our professional lives.

Connectivity has been a defining factor in new technology within the safety industry for some time now, but the introduction of more wearable devices to monitor workers, remote or on-site, in real time has changed the way that safety professionals can plan for and implement safety protocols. Safety directors have a much better idea of how their workers are fairing throughout the day and can pinpoint trouble spots and enact change quickly.

With every revolutionary idea comes its drawbacks. Companies that begin to use connected devices must work with their employees to help them understand what data is being collected and how it is being used. Companies must also be prepared to store this massive amount of data and how to keep it safe.

What Back to the Future advancements are you predicting for the safety industry? Personally, I’m still hoping for those dry-cleaning clothes.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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