MIT, Intel, Xerox Deploy Wearable Sensors that Build Stronger Teams and Improve Telephone Sales Performance

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Employees' body language, voice variation, and hallway movements are being mapped by new kinds of wearable tracking devices, reports science writer Mark Buchanan in the autumn 2007 issue of strategy+business magazine. MIT's Media Lab, Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, and Intel Research have developed "subtle sensors" that are enriching our understanding of teams and organizations and that are helping call centers improve telephone sales pitches by 20 percent or more.

Employees' body language, voice variation, and hallway movements are being mapped by new kinds of wearable tracking devices, reports science writer Mark Buchanan in the autumn 2007 issue of strategy+business magazine (http://www.strategy-business.com). MIT's Media Lab, Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, and Intel Research have developed "subtle sensors" that are enriching our understanding of teams and organizations and that are helping call centers improve telephone sales pitches by 20 percent or more.

Buchanan writes that Mark Mortensen of the MIT Sloan School of Management "forsees wiring up an entire team, division, or company, and gathering real information quickly on who interacts with whom, what kind of knowledge they share, and whether the interactions are successful. With networks of social sensors, organizations may soon be mounting a scientific, data-driven attack on the most baffling and damaging problems they face -- those that stem from the myriad and mysterious dysfunctions affecting groups."

However, Buchanan warns that "the ethical challenges the use of sensors raises must be taken seriously if the technology is really to be beneficial."

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