Wearable technology, like Apple Watch and Fitbit, turned our daily lives into an never-ending catalog of interpretable data as they offered us to track how many steps we take, the number of calories we consume, our REM sleep cycles, and even the health of our hearts.
Now at Dartmouth, researchers have claimed that those wearables can serve another purpose to us that is it can track the performance of the workers. This is a mobile-sensing system that works by combining a smartphone, fitness bracelets and a custom app, and thus can track and rate the performance of workers. According to the researchers, their device can measure employee performance with about 80 percent accuracy.
Physical and emotional signals that employees make produce during the day are measured by the system. This is data is used by the system to create a performance profile over time. Also researchers has designed it to eliminate bias from evaluations. 750 U.S. workers were tracked using this system by researchers, for one year. The difference between high performers and low performers were calculated using this sensing system.
According to researchers, it could be a step forward towards the beginning of a new era of virtual assistants that could redefine our relationships using intelligent machines. This system can also have a negative impact on the employees, as it can put them under constant pressure by the companies they work for.
Andrew Campbell, Dartmouth University computer science professor, who was also included in this team of researchers and his earlier work was on a student monitoring app, call this research as a positive gateway to improving worker productivity. Campbell said:
This is a radically new approach to evaluating workplace performance using passive sensing data from phones and wearables, “Mobile sensing and machine learning might be the key to unlocking the best from every employee
The measure of performance by self-evaluations and interviews can be unreliable, this technology is more objective and can give results which are more reliable, according to the researchers. In the research, physical activity, location, phone use and ambient light of the workers were tracked by the smartphone. The fitness tracker monitored heart functions, sleep, stress and body measurements like weight and calorie consumption. The third piece, location beacons that were placed in the home and office, provided information on time at work and breaks from the desk. After this, the information was gathered by cloud-based machine learning algorithms, it then, classified performance on the base of the factors such as the amount of time spent at the workplace, quality of sleep, physical activity and phone usage.
Performers with high productivity, had lower rates of phone usage, had longer periods of deep sleep and were more physically active, according to the results.
Some concerns about the practice of tracking employees have also raised by the Privacy experts and labor advocates. However, the team of researchers says that its system of continuous monitoring via wearables and other devices is not yet available, it could be coming in the next few years. We could also say that may be team is working, if there are designs that they could try and launch this system as a product.
Researchers from University of Notre Dame, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Washington, University of Colorado Boulder, University of California, Irvine, Ohio State University, University of Texas at Austin and Carnegie Mellon University, were ncluded in the team which was led by Dartmouth University.