New Group Monitoring System Patent
Industry analysts have recently learned that a company or the government can now automatically determine if employees are paying attention to their work.
By scanning an employee’s brain and body while at work, a new enterprise productivity analysis device will continually update project performance analysis based on real-time measurement of workforce and employee focus and concentration to determine if employees are meeting project deadlines.
Microsoft’s formal description of the new workplace monitoring technology is described in their United States Patent Application No. 20070300174 as:
“An activity monitoring system that facilitates managing and optimizing user activity automatically to improve overall user productivity and efficiency comprising:
- means for monitoring user activity conducted on one or more computing devices;
- means for processing and evaluating user activity data to assess user performance on their respective activities and the current allocation of system and human resources;
- means for detecting that a user needs assistance with a target activity; and
- means for selecting at least one assisting user to assist the user with the target activity based on an analysis of the assisting user and the target activity.”
Generally in two parts, a brain- and body-based monitoring component plus a group activity management component, the installations will 1) process and evaluate user activity data in real time to assess user performance and 2) evaluate an employee’s current and projected allocation of system and human resources.
In its patent documents for a unique monitoring system announced December 27, 2007, Microsoft’s employee detection and productivity evaluation system is comprised of ‘one or more physiological or environmental sensors‘ to detect at least one of the following from each employee,
- heart rate,
- galvanic skin response,
- brain signals,
- respiration rate,
- body temperature, movement,
- facial movements,
- facial expressions, and
- blood pressure.
Reaction in the Workforce
Office workers and contract employees around the world are actively seeking updated information to shield themselves from the latest workplace monitoring systems soon to be installed by employers.
In its recent brief, the employment law firm of Hirem, Scanimall and Letemgough is seeking to squelch or reverse ‘monitoring of the employee brain or biological process while at work‘. The firm is claiming that monitoring of the employee’s brain and/or body and/or internal physical or chemical process in real-time shall constitute excessive and unwarranted employer sanctioned workplace intrusion.
But employers and outsource contract firms seem eager to install this new category of management devices. An activity monitoring system will assist the employer in, as Microsoft states, “managing and optimizing user activity automatically to improve overall user productivity and efficiency”.
Protection and Countermeasures
For managers and on-site productivity consultants, a prototype Faraday Executive Suite is being tested at Workforce Fields and Zones Laboratories Inc. that architects will include in construction specifications for sites installing scanning-based employee monitoring.
For employees, ZPIntradomain is following the progress of a scanning counter-signal device that may protect employees from workplace brain monitoring systems. In the newest patent, an energy amplifier for employees based on a co-gravitational K field that will generate a proficiency-indicating activity amplification K-Wave to be directed over wireless signal toward the employer’s monitoring system.
An Albany, N.Y. firm has launched the $169 SilverTex 2-part RF shielding full body garment using interwoven threads of very fine copper and silver to block employee monitoring systems. Wiki has information about related devices to help shield the brain from electromagnetic fields that might be used in workplace brain and body monitoring systems.