Researchers have developed a mobile detection system that can measure and evaluate worker performance through the combination of a smartphone, fitness bracelets and a custom app.
The mobile sensing system, as the researchers call it, is able to classify high and low performers. The team used the system to track 750 US workers for a year. The system was able to detect the difference between high performance devices and performance devices with an accuracy of 80%.
Researchers say employees should gain insight into physical, emotional and behavioral well-being. However, this constant flow of data also has a drawback and, in case of abuse, can constantly monitor the employees of the companies for which they work.
Researchers, including Dartmouth University computer science professor Andrew Campbell, whose previous work is student monitoring The app provided the underlying technology for this system and provided a positive gateway to improving labor productivity.
"This is a radically new approach to assessing workplace performance using passive sensor data from cell phones and wearables, "said Campbell. "Mobile recognition and machine learning could be the key to getting the most out of every employee."
The mobile sensing system developed by the researchers consists of three parts. A smartphone records physical activity, location, use of the phone, and ambient light. The fitness tracker monitors heart functions, sleep, stress and body measurements such as weight and calorie consumption. In the meantime, location beacons placed at home and in the office provide information about working hours and breaks from the desk.
From here, cloud-based machine learning algorithms are used to classify employees by performance level.
The study found that higher performers typically had lower phone usage rates, longer sleep periods and were more physically active.
Data privacy professionals and employee representatives have long expressed concerns about the practice of prosecuting employees. This has not stopped companies from incentivizing employees to wear fitness tracks to save on insurance or other benefits. Startups have emerged to offer even more ways to track employees.
For example, in February WeWork purchased Euclid, a data platform that tracks the identity and behavior of people in the physical world. Shiva Rajaraman, WeWork's Chief Product Officer, told TechCrunch at the time that the Euclid platform and their team are integrated into a software analysis package that WeWork wants to sell to companies that do not rent WeWork space, but their own WeWork-ify want offices.
Meanwhile, the research team suggests that its system of continuous monitoring via wearables and other devices is not yet available, but could come in the next few years. It is unclear whether the team is making a calculated guess, or if there are any designs to introduce this system as a product. University of Washington, University of Colorado Boulder, University of California, Irvine, Ohio State University, University of Texas at Austin and Carnegie Mellon University .
A paper describing the study is published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile Wearable and Ubiquitous Technology.