quantified self five thread of hr technology john sumser November 7, 2013 HRExaminer.com
Last week in Amsterdam, I saw a guy go through the expedited security lane. He simply looked into a little hole in the wall and they waved him through. For him, his retinal scan was his passport. (Iris scanning has been a part of the Immigration process for so long that its use has been discontinued. It’s an old process.)

The fingerprint scanner on the new iPhones is just one more example of bio-data being used for security purposes. Here at the HRExaminer, we’ve been testing a range of tools that measure caloric consumption, energy expenditures, blood sugar, blood pressure, pulse, heart rate variability, and, blood Oxygen levels. One of the devices will become a wristband that notices when you have stress and measures caloric intake with color.

The measurement of all things (sometimes called the internet of things) is a rapid paced phenomenon. Everything will be connected to everything else. Everyone has heard about the refrigerator that tells the grocery store what you need. Lower on the awareness spectrum are devices that can hear keystrokes (by letter), sense who’s in the office by foot pattern.

Google Glass is just the first and most prominent example of the sorts of wearable computing that will turn the world upside down. When every interaction can be recorded; when answers appear magically in front of you; when your shoes know your name, the flow of employee data will make today’s unintelligible social graph look like primitive scratching.

Documentation and measurement go hand in hand. No one is surprised anymore when the phone comes out to take a picture. Measuring devices will appear in every conceivable place. If we’re lucky, they’ll measure us. If we’re not so lucky, they’ll measure the assets we use and pretend that that isn’t measuring us.

In the first waves of quantification, it’s been okay for HR Departments to hide behind the flag of productivity. In the near term future, competitive battles will be won by the organization that can best quantify and therefore predict the behavior of the people in the workforce.

Much of this functionality will be part of the digital device you carry around with you (we’ll stop calling it a phone pretty soon.). Whether they buy it or demand it, HR Departments are going to want and need that data.

 

The Series:

Re-Engineering HR: Five Threads of Technology

 

 
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