Accelerometer in Mobiles used for monitoring employee activities

Company managers are forced in today’s working environment to cut cost and improve efficiency in any possible manner. For a manager to improve efficiency, they need performance reports or some monitoring system. Certain companies are aiming to not only monitor or record employee’s task, but also how much time was spent by the employee on a certain task.

One company, KDDI, is taking this a step further. KDDI is a mobile company in Japan that has developed a service which enables the manager to track employee’s activities. Activities can range from walking, running, climbing stairs etc. The service is enabled through monitoring of the accelerometer found in most mobiles today. New activities can simply be added to the system by monitoring a specific activity of an individual. A cleaning company is interested in this service to monitor the amount of time employees spend on activities such as scrubbing, sweeping or just plain standing around. Like virtually all systems, this one can be fooled by giving your working friend your mobile while you take a smoke break or a nap.

The biggest concern for this type of technology is privacy. Is your working environment becoming a Big Brother where every move and action is going to be monitored and evaluated for your performance report? Is the function of any technological device or service to aid employees in production or efficiency? This mobile activities monitoring service seems more like a extortionist of some kind. The problem with this service is that it will most likely be used to increase the workload of employees ( to increase efficiency of employees in managers eye’s) rather than find alternatives to reduce employee’s workload.

The technology is great, but should be used for other functions. One particular area where this technology can be used is to aid environments where continuous indoor navigation is not possible. Alessandro Mulloni et al developed an indoor positioning and navigation application for mobile’s with cameras. The application relied on user scanning a barcode from which the system calculated their location. The barcodes location was fixed and known by the system. Users will then select where they wanted to go and be directed. The system displays a static 2D map to the user. KDDI’s accelerometer technology can enable a dynamic map that estimates where the user is according to their walking pattern, if they followed the path. Adding a compass functionality can enable the system to monitor their direction to see if they are following the correct path and if not recalculate a new path.

To end off, KDDI’s technology can be used for other services that aid employees, customers or tourist for navigational purposes instead of Big Brother services.

Sources: BBC News , Alessandro Mulloni et al

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