It’s been five years since a Swiss woman was fired for using Facebook after she claimed that her migraine prohibited her from using a computer, and six years since a Canadian woman lost her disability benefits after Facebook pictures showed her having fun at a club. Most of us, having heard enough cautionary tales, are a little more careful on social media these days. But with the proliferation of the internet of things, it’s worth taking a minute to think about the implications of what happens when your employer collects data from your wearables.
The fitness industry was the first to utilize wearable technology, and fitness monitors and apps are a major selling point of the new Apple watch set for release in 2015. Beyond fitness, it appears that the next area poised to take advantage is the field of worker productivity. Devices in the works include a wristband that measures movement, an EEG headband that records brain activity, and a back posture band that vibrates when the wearer slouches. Productivity wearables are only in their infancy, but the potential is limitless.
The 2014 Human Cloud at Work Study led by Dr. Chris Brauer at the University of London showed not only that wearable devices improved employee productivity, but also that employees liked using the devices and felt increased job satisfaction after wearing them. Many employees reported that they enjoyed learning about their productivity and attention patterns from the devices. But before you strap one on, you should be aware of who can see your data and how it can be used.
The researchers conducting the study were able to create profiles for each user simply by looking only at the wearable data. For example, they were able to tell that employee “Chloe” sleeps 7.5 hours a night, is moderately active, has a short daily commute, and does not have any children. Chloe seems pretty normal in these respects and may not mind that her employer has access to this information, but what about an employee frequently awake at night with a young child, or who leads an unhealthily sedentary lifestyle, or has any other characteristics that may seem undesirable to an employer. With enough data, employers could determine which of their team members have ADD, depression, or are prone to health problems.
So far it seems that overall feelings are mixed. One study of UK consumers found that only 45% of them would be willing to use wearable devices offered by their employer. But in practice, Ben Waber, the CEO of Sociometric Solutions, has seen an even higher participation rate: he has found that 90% of employees opt-in to wearables programs that his company provides to various institutions.
Using a wearable provided by your company is just one way that personal data can make it into the hands of your employer. One in six Americans have already purchased wearables from the likes of Jawbone, Pebble, Nike, and Fitbit, and about half of Americans intend to purchase a wearable in the near future. And don’t forget that your iPhone or Android is in itself a wearable, feeding copious amounts of personal data to any app or website you enable. Many of these apps automatically share information across social media, so your employer is only one step removed from that data.
Most people love to find out more information about themselves, and most employees would welcome insight into how to improve our focus and attention. Managers too can find huge value in this data. It can improve planning and team building, and every manager is interested in improving productivity.
But there are potential dangers that should not be overlooked. Even with the best intentions, knowledge of someone’s physical and mental capacities could easily be misused.
Would you welcome wearables into your office? Are you comfortable sharing wearable data with your employer?
Developing or just using some special APPs for your needs in your company basing on Andriod's & Apple System, according to associated wearable device to collect wearable datas from your employer or the end customers.