The constant evolution in human-computer interaction is assisting workers with their daily operations to increase their productivity.
Humans have long been developing tools and technologies that can assist them in their daily tasks. Computers are one such tool that have changed the way humans work. Human-computer interaction (HCI) focuses majorly on the study of interfaces that allows interaction between people and computers. The field of HCI is situated at the intersection of computer science and behavioral science. HCI has evolved over time, from desktops to mobile screens and handheld computers. Present-day research focuses on seamless implementation with voice user interface and speech recognition. This evolution, over time, has assisted humans in their daily operations by reducing the burden and increasing productivity. For instance, chatbots are an example of how human-computer interaction has enhanced worker productivity.
Advancement in technologies has paved the way for several tools and devices like eye-trackers, wearables, and virtual assistants that have facilitated human-computer interaction.
Eye-tracking is the process of interpreting where a person is looking, also known as the point of gaze. Eye-attached tracking, optical tracking, and electric potential measurement are three techniques to track eye-movement. The first technique uses an attachment with an embedded mirror or magnetic field sensor to track the eye. Optical tracking is done with the help of infrared rays and their reflections detected with the help of infrared cameras. The electric potential measurement uses electrodes to determine eye movement.
Business administrators can help workers focus on their daily operations with the help of eye-tracking. For instance, eye-tracking devices can determine industrial processes or situations that divert workers’ attention. Businesses can then make plans or strategies that can help tackle distractions and enhance workers’ focus on a task. Eye-tracking also helps to train employees. It can record the visual attention of an expert while he or she is performing a task. And this recording can help train new employees about what to look and where to look while performing a task. Thus using eye-tracking technology and human interaction with its devices helps new employees to learn everything from an expert’s perspective without missing a single detail. Eye-tracking in future might also eliminate the need to scroll down the computer screens manually, which will further increase worker productivity. For instance, front-desk receptionists can simply scroll computer screens with their eyes and focus more on assisting customers with other tasks and queries.
Speech recognition technology can interpret human language, and it is already in use to increase productivity with chatbots and virtual assistants. Chatbots can understand customer queries and provide an appropriate response. Thus, with chatbots to solve customer queries, workers can focus more on decision-making tasks. And chatbots are just one of the many applications of speech recognition that can increase workers’ productivity. Simply putting it can assist in all the typing tasks, be it personal or professional. According to a report, an average person types 40 words per minute, and a professional typist can type around 60 to 80 words per minute. Another report shows that an average person speaks between 120 to 150 words per minute. Comparison between both the report shows that the speaking rate is almost twice the typing rate. Thus, it can double the productivity of typing tasks.
It can also increase the productivity of non-typing tasks. For instance, it can help take down even minute details of all transcribing meetings, training sessions, interviews, and presentations. Also, accountants can update accounts in a computer device by simply reading them without the need to type anything.
IoT applications are penetrating their way into our daily lives and almost all the industries. IoT devices collect data that can provide valuable insights to businesses and helps them to make significant decisions for increasing their revenues. But IoT devices are not all about collecting data, human interaction with these devices can also help increase workers' productivity. Time management is important and can have a significant impact on employees’ performance. It can help an employee provide better quality work, make better decisions, eliminate procrastination, and reduce stress and anxiety.
IoT devices can help employees to manage their time efficiently. For instance, wearables, like smartwatches, can have applications such as scheduling, taking notes, and reminders that can help employees remember minute details, manage their time, and increase their productivity.
Imagine a workplace of twenty years from now; it will be completely different from today. Businesses are taking a paradigm shift towards becoming a remote workplace. Employees themselves prefer working remotely. For instance, According to a survey done, 83% of workers do not believe they have to be in an office to be productive. And the same study shows that 43% of workers feel they would be more productive working from home. Thus employees want flexibility in their way of working, which can be achieved with innovative technologies. And this remote workforce becomes possible because of cloud computing and human interaction with mobile devices to access cloud-based business applications.
Cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) applications can enable seamless collaboration and streamline workflow to increase workers’ productivity. Any employee who has been granted permission can access the data on the cloud from anywhere in the world and establish real-time communication with fellow employees. And these collaborative technologies can allow communication between remote teams and help to increase productivity. Hence, it can be said that the future workforce will shift from location-centric to work-oriented because of SaaS and human-computer interaction.
Immersive technologies like AR and VR connect humans to the digital world and assist them while performing daily operations to increase productivity. Smart glasses allow workers to interact with computers in a fascinating hands-free way. And when combined with other technologies like cloud-based services and mobile applications, these smart glasses can provide critical information to workers while they are performing their daily tasks.
Smart glass technology has progressed rapidly in recent years. There are many vendors providing smart glasses with different features such as see-through displays, HD cameras, and voice- and gesture-activated controls. And this progress in smart glasses has allowed workers to interact with computers seamlessly. They also allow workers to learn on the job. For instance, a chef can learn new recipes and simultaneously prepare them. Also, they can help reduce downtime. By having AR and VR apps, the maintenance team can visually identify problems in machinery and resolve them there and then. Learning with the help of AR and VR helps workers to enhance their accuracy and quality of work, and ensures that the task is completed with zero errors. Thus, it reduces the time required for rework and leaves workers with ample time to focus on other tasks and increase productivity.
The current research in HCI is focused on user customization, sentiment analysis, and brain-computer interfaces. When researchers and developers find new breakthroughs in the above areas, they can create HCI tolls that can be tailored according to workers’ needs to make them more productive. For instance, if a worker is not efficient enough to do accounts, then human-computer interaction tools can be tailored to focus more on assisting with accounts for that worker.
Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.