Dave Pinwell

Dave Pinwell

Dave Pinwell is a prolific blogger and IT enthusiast and has kindly allowed us to reproduce his popular weekly IT Talk column first published in the Solihull News. Dave is also CEO of Colebridge Trust and SUSTAiN which play a key role in providing strategic support to Solihull’s Voluntary & Community sector. Dave has extensive experience in the IT sector, with roles including IT Director with Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd.
Tech News 7th November 2017 71

Tracking Devices For Employees Unlikely To Be Popular Move

The rise of the Fitbit for monitoring fitness activity seems to have inspired Amazon to take such technology further and apply wrist-based tracking approaches to workplace productivity.

News has emerged that Amazon has developed and patented a range of wristbands for tracking how effective the operatives are in picking items from the shelves in their fulfilment centres and for increasing the accuracy of collection.

The bands are designed to be worn on one or both wrists.

Ultrasound transmitters in the shelving constantly evaluate the positions of the hands.

The bands receive vibrations to guide the picker to the correct storage bins on the shelves.

Or, as Amazon puts it, the worker ‘receives confirmatory haptic feedback.’

Meanwhile, the patent for the devices makes clear their potential to be ‘configured to monitor performance’ of workers at the same time.

This is key priority, no doubt, in an environment where staff are reputed to walk over ten miles in a shift and be asked to pick about a hundred items an hour without fetching the wrong one.

Amazon’s patent also suggests that deployment outdoors and even ‘on cargo ships’ are foreseen as future applications for technology.

We might anticipate that other employers with personnel engaged in characteristically manual activities would take a keen interest in this development.

Unsurprisingly, however, the prospect of employees’ movements and productivity being tracked in such detail is not expected to be welcomed with open arms.

Meanwhile, Amazon is delivering more and more stuff to us on a 24-hour and, in some cases, even one-hour, turnaround.

It is impressive, but it takes leading-edge technology to do at such a scale.

Dave Pinwell

Dave Pinwell is a prolific blogger and IT enthusiast and has kindly allowed us to reproduce his popular weekly IT Talk column first published in the Solihull News. Dave is also CEO of Colebridge Trust and SUSTAiN which play a key role in providing strategic support to Solihull’s Voluntary & Community sector. Dave has extensive experience in the IT sector, with roles including IT Director with Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd.

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