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News | February 2024

How technology is changing trades in 2024

Work shoes 2024

If there’s one topic that has dominated lunch-hour chat in 2023, it’s the impact of technology on work.

Trades have always been on the leading edge of technology. Next time you’re at work, just check out the number of tradies using lasers instead of tape measures or logging numbers on apps.

We’ve rounded up five game-changing tech innovations, from gig economy platforms to graphene-infused work boots. Plus, we’re looking ahead to see how emerging tech might shape the rest of this decade.

1. Software makes life easier for entrepreneurial tradies

Online marketplaces make it easier for customers to connect with skilled contractors. They’re well-known to be a win-win, offering better customer experiences and more flexibility for business owners.

In late 2023, Australia’s largest tradie marketplace hipages teamed up with global tech consultant ThoughtWorks to create an all-in-one business platform. The new SaaS platform combines everything tradies need: customer management, materials sourcing, scheduling, payments and more. 

2. The most comfortable work boots get a graphene upgrade

Two years ago, we partnered with First Graphene to develop high-tech safety boots enhanced with graphene. In an Australian first, we devised a way to infuse one of the strongest known materials into our boots to improve durability and performance.

Since then, we’ve worked hard to make GraphTEC™ enhanced scuff caps and outsoles available on more of our work boots in more locations worldwide.

Work Boots 2024 - Steel Blue

3. Augmented reality enabling risk-free training

AR, or augmented reality, has found its footing in training workers for high-risk environments. AR provides a risk-free environment for tradespeople to hone their skills, simulate challenging scenarios, and enhance their safety knowledge. 

Although some might argue there’s no substitute for lacing up your work boots and learning on the job, we’re firm advocates of any strategy that empowers workers, improves safety outcomes, and removes one more hazard from the workplace.

4. Lone workers get better panic alert systems

Safety should never be a solo act. Lone worker apps and wearable panic alarms are becoming essential tools for tradespeople operating in remote or high-risk environments, such as night shifts, isolated-area rescue operations, exploring remote mining tenements, or simply working alone on a large job site. 

Lone worker apps and wearable panic alarms enable real-time communication and emergency assistance that could – and does – save lives.

5. Drones are making inspections safer

Remotely operated robots and drones with high-definition cameras are revolutionising access to unsafe or unreachable areas.

Especially in fields like underground mining, oil and gas, search and rescue, and demolition, drones allow workers to inspect worksites, assess potential hazards, and gather data without putting themselves at risk.

What’s on the horizon?

AI, artificial intelligence, is the current tech trend sweeping the world. It’s coming for trades, too – along with some exciting advancements in safety and performance.

  • AI-powered inspection systems will soon be able to detect workers entering a site without the right PPE
  • Automated software solutions are making it easier for contractors to manage staff, perform business tasks and collect payments
  • Even headgear is getting an upgrade with smart hard hats incorporating injury alerts and lone worker tracking 
  • Autonomous vehicles and equipment, already common on mine sites, will soon become commonplace in construction, transportation and warehousing

Here at Steel Blue, we’re always investing in research and development. Whether it’s footbed enhancements that make our most comfortable work boots even better, fastening systems to keep your shoes snug, or premium lightweight materials to give you greater mobility, technology and innovation keep us at the forefront of the safety footwear industry.

Learn more about the technology that makes Steel Blue the most comfortable work boot.

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