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Japan: employee monitoring using mobile phones

20 January 2011

Japan has always been notorious for the industriousness of its people and the amount of time they spend at their workplaces, as well as ignorance of privacy-related matters both among employers and employees.

Employee monitoring using GPS-enabled mobile devices has been commonly practiced here for years. The technology is used for tracking the location of truck drivers, sales agents and even flight attendants.

This time, KDDI Corporation of Japan suggests using built-in phone accelerometers for more accurate recognition of users’ activities. The system correctly identifies such actions as walking up and down the stairs and room cleaning operations, for example.

The solution can be used practically anywhere. For instance, it can automatically send a notification to a company’s manager that a janitor or loader is having an excessively long break.

Russia is still pursuing the nation-wide integration and acceptance of its own navigation system, GLONASS, although without considerable success. Its developers plan to use it for child, employee, prisoner and vehicle monitoring. Russian mobile carriers have already started offering navigation services allowing companies to track the location of vehicles and employees using satellite navigation devices and mobile phones.

In the meantime, Russian bloggers suggested a rather original method of employee monitoring. To use this method, a company would need to hire a courier equipped with a digital camera, a wireless headset and a 3G-enabled mobile phone.

Once the “video courier” arrives at a construction site, for example, he or she can simply turn the camera on and show the management around the place – directly and without using fancy satellite equipment.