Wearables And Data To Improve Decision Making
Humanyze, a unique new firm spawned in the MIT Media Lab, has developed a system that uses a smart employee badge to collect employee behavioral data, which it links to specific metrics with the goal of improving business performance.
While sports teams have done a great job of using data to evaluate their employees (players), business to this point has not used data effectively to measure the productivity of its workers. They may look at spreadsheets about overall business performance, charts about sales conversion rates and the number of leads generated by marketing, but they don’t look at how employees interact with one another and what impact that has on the bottom line.
In order to measure human behavior, the founders needed to a tool to collect data, so they developed a smart employee badge with a microphone, accelerometer, bluetooth connection and other tools typically found in a smart phone. (In fact, it looks a bit like a cell phone.) It measures things like how people moved through the day, who they interacted with, what their tone of voice was like, if they leaned into listen and other types of interactions that happen at every company every day.
Before you start looking at this as the ‘Big Brother’ badge, Waber says Humanyze has taken precautions to protect privacy. First of all, it’s entirely opt-in and they write a contract with the customer and end users ensuring privacy. “It’s written into our contracts that companies don’t have access to individual data, and we sign a contract (consent form) with our end users which says we will not give individual data to anyone else. We would be in violation of our contract if we do,” Waber said
There are also technical safeguards put into place — no content is ever recorded and is analyzed immediately without ever being saved to memory, names aren’t kept in the same location as behavioral data and so forth, he explained.
Once, they had this badge, they asked early customers to give them key performance metrics such as sales or customer service completion times to compare against the data, and there was lots and lots of data.
Each badge generates about 4GB of data per day, which gets uploaded to the cloud where Humanyze breaks down the 40 types of information it collects and pares it down to the 6 most important pieces for the client. They then link that to a key business metric dashboard, so the customer can see how behaviors are affecting the bottom line performance of the company.