What’s that vibration on your wrist? Ah! It’s your employee tracker telling you which bin to grab the next inventory item from. This Big Brother-esque idea may be Amazon’s future employee tracking system. Amazon has recently patented two employee-tracking wearables that could be launched at warehouses across the world in the very near future. Amazon hasn’t had the best press for their somewhat harsh treatment of employees, but they continue to have thousands of people lining up for warehouse packing jobs every time a new factory opens. The retail shipping behemoth prides itself on customer service and extremely quick shipping times —in some cities, a package can get to your doorstep in under an hour. With this demanding rise for ASAP delivery, Amazon workers may soon implement the wearables system for all employees.
The wristband, designed much like a FitBit, would use vibrating sensor technology to guide the employee to the correct bins through embedded GPS, effectively eliminating hesitation time and the need to remember which bin is located where in a massive warehouse. Big firms are no strangers to trying to maximize their employees efficiency and cut costs. Many companies implement strict Internet policies and cut break times to encourage employee focus.
While this GPS-enabled tracking would undoubtedly provide boosts in productivity and efficiency, there are some privacy concerns. Proponents of labor laws wonder if a GPS-enhanced armband could break any privacy or work laws, since laws on tracking devices aren’t clearly defined. But even so, many industries beyond warehouse-based operations are jumping on the tracking trend. Pediatric nurses at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center are already wearing trackers that monitor their location while on the floor. They’ve seen an uptick in productivity and one employee even said that they prefer the tracking devices and that it makes it easier to find help in an emergency situation.