RSS

Tag Archives: Global Positioning System

Are Businesses Crossing Lines by Tracking Employees?

517415790_c_570_411
Expert Cites Benefits & Ways to Ease Privacy Concerns

Nearly 10 years after real-time package- and people-tracking went viral with the advent of GPS-enabled cell phones, small businesses face two big concerns.

“One is expense. Small businesses, especially those still recovering from the worst recession in modern history, can’t always afford to provide their employees with GPS-equipped smart phones,” notes location-based services specialist George Karonis, founder and CEO of LiveViewGPS, Inc., provider of Mobile Phone Locate tracking service,  (www.mobilephonelocate.com).

“The second issue is privacy. People generally don’t want their employer to be a ‘big brother’ boss who can track their every move. It’s not because they’re doing something they shouldn’t, but because it invades their space, and the information could be misinterpreted or misused.”

But employee tracking has plenty of obvious benefits to small business owners:

• Provide baseline information. It gives businesses solid data to analyze for initiatives such as improving efficiency. Businesses with lots of workers in the field making deliveries or service calls can optimize routes and schedules.

• Improve customer service and satisfaction. Tracking helps a business tell people waiting somewhere for a delivery or service exactly where their package or service-person is and how long the wait will be.

• Improve response times. On-site coordinators can re-route workers in the field to respond to unscheduled calls in the most efficient way possible.

• Reduce costs. The greater efficiency provided by tracking helps lower costs by reducing both downtime and overtime.

So how can businesses circumvent affordability and employee privacy concerns?

One way is to accomplish both is to use a service that doesn’t involve extra equipment, including software, or a contract, Karonis says.

“If you’re not loading apps or software onto someone’s personal phone, it’s less intrusive for the employee and he or she will be more willing to allow use of their own phone. There’s also no added drain on the battery, because there’s no app constantly running in the background, and no hitch-hiking on their data plan or incurring a data charge,” he says.

“If you make it non-intrusive employees won’t tend to feel that you’re invading their privacy.”

Using a service that charges per location, with no requirement for a time-specific contract, is also more cost-efficient for the business, Karonis says.

“For the small business that’s merely seeking to improve efficiency and customer service, constant tracking isn’t necessary. That’s more appropriate in a situation where employers have large number of people constantly in the field, for instance, UPS. Or, employers who feel the need to monitor unproductive employees,” he says.

There’s a growing backlash as the public is subjected to more and more stalking – from cameras mounted at traffic lights to social networking sites recording shopping habits and topics of conversation, Karonis notes.

“We’ve reached a crossroads where we need to find a balance between surveillance that provides legitimate business advantages and surveillance that invades people’s privacy,” he says.

“It really is possible to strike that balance and, in a small business that thrives on trust, mutual respect and fully invested employees, it’s essential.”

About George Karonis

George Karonis has a background in security and surveillance, and has specialized in location services since 2005. A self-professed computer geek, one of his chief concerns is balancing the usefulness of tracking with the protection of individuals’ privacy. He is founder and CEO of LiveViewGPS, Inc.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Are Businesses Crossing Lines by Tracking Employees?

home-banner-3

Nearly 10 years after real-time package- and people-tracking went viral with the advent of GPS-enabled cell phones, small businesses face two big concerns.

“One is expense. Small businesses, especially those still recovering from the worst recession in modern history, can’t always afford to provide their employees with GPS-equipped smart phones,” notes location-based services specialist George Karonis, founder and CEO of LiveViewGPS, Inc., provider of Mobile Phone Locate tracking service,  (www.mobilephonelocate.com).

“The second issue is privacy. People generally don’t want their employer to be a ‘big brother’ boss who can track their every move. It’s not because they’re doing something they shouldn’t, but because it invades their space, and the information could be misinterpreted or misused.”

But employee tracking has plenty of obvious benefits to small business owners:

• Provide baseline information. It gives businesses solid data to analyze for initiatives such as improving efficiency. Businesses with lots of workers in the field making deliveries or service calls can optimize routes and schedules.

• Improve customer service and satisfaction. Tracking helps a business tell people waiting somewhere for a delivery or service exactly where their package or service-person is and how long the wait will be.

• Improve response times. On-site coordinators can re-route workers in the field to respond to unscheduled calls in the most efficient way possible.

• Reduce costs. The greater efficiency provided by tracking helps lower costs by reducing both downtime and overtime.

So how can businesses circumvent affordability and employee privacy concerns?

One way is to accomplish both is to use a service that doesn’t involve extra equipment, including software, or a contract, Karonis says.

“If you’re not loading apps or software onto someone’s personal phone, it’s less intrusive for the employee and he or she will be more willing to allow use of their own phone. There’s also no added drain on the battery, because there’s no app constantly running in the background, and no hitch-hiking on their data plan or incurring a data charge,” he says.

“If you make it non-intrusive employees won’t tend to feel that you’re invading their privacy.”

Using a service that charges per location, with no requirement for a time-specific contract, is also more cost-efficient for the business, Karonis says.
“For the small business that’s merely seeking to improve efficiency and customer service, constant tracking isn’t necessary. That’s more appropriate in a situation where employers have large number of people constantly in the field, for instance, UPS. Or, employers who feel the need to monitor unproductive employees,” he says.

There’s a growing backlash as the public is subjected to more and more stalking – from cameras mounted at traffic lights to social networking sites recording shopping habits and topics of conversation, Karonis notes.

“We’ve reached a crossroads where we need to find a balance between surveillance that provides legitimate business advantages and surveillance that invades people’s privacy,” he says.

“It really is possible to strike that balance and, in a small business that thrives on trust, mutual respect and fully invested employees, it’s essential.”

About George Karonis

George Karonis has a background in security and surveillance, and has specialized in location services since 2005. A self-professed computer geek, one of his chief concerns is balancing the usefulness of tracking with the protection of individuals’ privacy. He is founder and CEO of LiveViewGPS, Inc.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Three Controversial Uses of GPS Tracking

GPS tracking is an amazing technology that evolves constantly for new uses beyond navigation. The law enforcement community and businesses have begun using GPS tracking in ways that worry privacy experts.

Because GPS tracking allows someone to unobtrusively monitor a vehicle in real time, some question if the practice is ethical.

Monitoring Devices

Nicole Ritchie had one because she drove drunk. Lindsey Loan wore one during rehab and after for her legal problems related to substance abuse. Football star Michael Vick wore a bracelet after he got out of prison for his role in a dog-fighting ring.

The criminal justice system commonly uses GPS monitoring devices to track individuals on probation, parole or house arrest for a variety of crimes. In several states, registered sex offenders are required to wear a tracking bracelet even if they are no longer under state supervision.

These monitoring devices are designed to be intrusive. While someone convicted of a crime may prefer electronic monitoring, it is not a foolproof system. If someone removes the bracelet or if its battery is not charged, the bracelet is useless.

Sex offenders who are no longer under any sort of legal restriction are not likely to be inclined to keep the bracelet on and in working order. This leads some members of the public to question if it is cost-effective or even useful to continuing this monitoring.

Fleet Tracking

What is fleet tracking? When a business has multiple vehicles driven by employees, it often installs GPS tracking on each vehicle. Aside from the obvious benefit of routing vehicles and locating them if stolen, employers are using the trackers to increase worker productivity.

With GPS tracking, businesses can tell how fast employees drive, the number of times the vehicle has stopped, as well as the location. Because employers can purchase systems that broadcast in real time, they immediately know when an employee spends an excessive time at a service call, parked in one location or on lunch break. Employees may not like this tracking, but most employers inform employees. Employees are free to accept the policy or find other employment.

Under Cover Surveillance

Police have conducted surveillance on criminal suspects for years. Previously, most surveillance relied on someone following someone and taking photographs or video. Now, a person can be under surveillance without someone physically following them. Courts have ruled that police don’t need a warrant to place GPS tracking devices on the vehicle of a person of interest.

If someone parks a car and goes inside a building, police or anyone else can place a small tracking device under the bumper or in some other location not highly visible. From this device, they may be able to track the vehicle in real time. On other occasions, police retrieve the device the same way they placed it and then have location data to use. Expect continued court battles over whether this type of surveillance continues to be possible without a warrant.

Any technology has benefits and drawbacks. GPS tracking is no different. We have security of mind knowing we have directions to our next destination. Unfortunately, the same device allows others to identify where we are going and when. A balance of safety and privacy is important in the use of this technology.

Peggy Crippen, a guest blogger, regularly writes about business and technology, including GPS tracking.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,761 other followers

%d bloggers like this: