Amazon has released plans to deck out its employees with wrist tracking devises to monitor performance. So far the tracking bands have warranted a much-deserved mixed result.
Described as an ‘inventory management system’ the wristbands can pinpoint the location of warehouse employees and track their hand movements in real time.
The proposed system includes ultrasonic devices placed around the warehouse, the wristbands themselves, and a management module that oversees everything. The wristbands also feature an ultrasonic unit that’s used to track where the worker is in relation to any particular inventory bin.
If their hands are moving to the wrong item, the bracelet will electrocute the employee (in the way of a small harmless buzz).
The dystopian feeling of this dog shock-collar type device has not gone unnoticed, with places such as The Verge and The Guardian calling out the increased robotic way of the retail giant.
A less generous way of looking at it would to observe that this is another level of surveillance that can allow management to pull workers up for wasting time, fidgeting and even track bathroom breaks.
As Amazon grows upwards and outwards, the use of faster more accurate technology will most likely follow. Amazon, with its already less-than-chill management style seems to be increasing is micromanaging and job automation – with the addition of checkout-less supermarkets and voice automated home-helpers.
Yet the wristbands at the moment are just a patent, it is possible that Amazon will not actually deploy the bands among warehouse staff.