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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Here's Your New Employee ID Card and Your Bio-Sensor

In mid-August, Bloomberg Business reported that the provisioning of employees with bio-sensing devices linked to the kinds of tracking systems and analytic tools commonly used with highly competitive athletes were making significant inroads into hedge funds, banks, call centers and consultancies across the UK.  The new tools are designed to link human behavior and physiological data, such as heart rate, stress levels, breathing, skin temperature and body position, to business performance.  While the use of such devices for health and safety reasons in industries such as oil, gas, mining and construction is not surprising, their increasing use in white collar positions is.  Some applications include monitoring what goes on outside the workplace as well, including tracking of exercise, sleep, food, alcohol consumption and caffeine intake.  The use of wearable technology in this way may be regarded as creepy by some, but insiders believe the privacy debate will fade once people realize the potential of this sort of human performance analytics.  Companies identified as exploring the use of bio-sensors in the workplace include Bank of America, KPMG, GlaxoSmithKline and Goldman Sachs.  (See mid-September article here)

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