In recent months, organizations around the world have been investing in surveillance technologies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. But workplace monitoring systems after the pandemic could become standard office equipment in the coming years.
For example, in October, a Gartner report he predicted that 75% of workplace conversations will be "recorded and analyzed" by 2025.
A recent patent filing by Microsoft shows a shift towards a new office space.
The Microsoft patent describes a monitoring system consisting of a number of monitoring devices to analyze meetings and participants to score these events, as well as detailed feedback. According to the company this will help the organizations to improve future meetings.
The patent summary describes a system designed to observe and “collects quality parameters. "
Let's see what the company means by "quality parameters."
The image below shows a meeting room with many participants in their seats. The meeting room has "multiple meeting quality monitoring devices". Such a device also includes a thermostat that records the temperature in a given room. As the patent notes, "air temperature affects a person's level of comfort and can negatively affect how comfortable and productive a meeting is when it is too high or too low."
The image also includes a camera that states that it could be used to monitor which guests attended the meeting, to analyze "body language and / or facial expressions", as well as the time each participant spends to contribute during the meeting. "
The third monitor is a microphone on a bookshelf and a potted plant. This device could be used to detect "speech patterns that indicate boredom, fatigue, etc.", as well as to record the time participants speak during a meeting.
The fourth "quality monitoring device" is "a personal electronic device" designed to serve as "a source of information about the behaviors of participants in a particular meeting".
Examples of behaviors described in the patent include "how much a participant attends a meeting or does something else," such as checking their emails, sending text messages, or browsing the Internet.
Of course the above image which very descriptively shows the increased surveillance in the workplace could lead to many reactions in the workplace due to concerns about data privacy.
(That would be ideal, but you never know. Conditions may not allow for reactions).
Do employers really need to know all this? According to the Microsoft patent, it is probably necessary to have "better working conditions"