As more and more companies look to technology to maintain security in the workplace, the issue of ensuring that staff is comfortable with this trend is increasingly important.
Apps for voice or facial recognition are growing in popularity.
In fact, the Microsoft Envisioning Center predicts that voice recognition technology will become so sophisticated in the next five years that it will run constantly in the background of every phone conversation, picking up the context of things like talk of meetings and automatically scheduling the dates in your calendar.
Face recognition is already becoming standard in companies as a means to enter secure zones or even log onto computers. Instead of a password, the employee looks into a camera and software decides if the person is the one who should be logging onto the computer.
Tests show facial recognition has become a sophisticated science. In a series of tests done between 1993 and 2010 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the failure rate (as in when the software failed to recognize a match between two faces that were a match) was reduced by half every two years as the technology grew more reliable.
Currently, the rate of error is less than 1%.
Following hot on the heels of facial recognition software is a range of hand gesture technologies that will make machines work for employees.
Already the printing giant HP has said it will bring in a system of Leap Motion Controllers, a system of hand gesture technology that uses infrared LED illumination and cameras to detect hand gestures.
Simply by pointing at actions you want your computer to do, it converts the hand motion to a command and completes the task.
While most of the new technology will be integrated easily into a technology-savvy workforce, the impact of facial recognition software may generate some resistance.
Issues of personal privacy concerns inevitably arise.
That’s because once companies collect a database of employee images, there is always a temptation to use them for other things.
Is the employee who called in sick the day of the mega-concert in the area really sick, or is their face the one you see in the concert webcam? Is the person claiming disability insurance really the runner in a marathon you see on a webcam? Can both employees be fired if the facial recognition matches the one on file?
There is no quick answer for some of the ethical and legal issues surrounding facial recognition software, but as it grows in popularity, these things will need to be worked out.
Experts predict that inevitably the facial images on social media will be matched with facial images of employees, but the end purpose remains to be seen. There are times when such a process could be advantageous, as in an instant when a person is missing or abducted. In other situations, however, it could be more damaging to the employee if their face is seen in a place where it is not supposed to be.
If your company is moving in this direction, how do you make sure that you are operating in an open and above-board fashion?
It is a good idea to start by presenting each employee with a written policy covering the company’s use of facial recognition software, ensuring that each employee signs an acknowledgement that they have read the policy and gives consent to be photographed.
Ensure that all employees in a department are photographed and facial technology software is implemented at once so that no individual employee feels like he or she has been signaled out for such an exercise.
Being transparent with the process from the beginning will inevitably lead to a smoother implementation process.
For more information on how technology can lower security risks, contact SkyPrep today!