Ditching work? Your boss can literally track you down

Published February 18th, 2015 - 08:18 GMT

They are applying GPS and GIS tools that were predominantly used for vehicular navigation and location positioning in the past, for tracking and monitoring people.

Mohamed Elias, project manager at Global Scan Technologies, said ID cards of employees are being tracked and monitored. These are designed with multiple chips like NFC, RFID and QR code.

Speaking to Khaleej Times at an exhibition held as part of the 10th Middle East Geospatial Forum and Dubai Municipality’s GIS & Remote Sensing Annual Scientific Forum, he gave examples of how companies from different sectors are using workforce monitoring applications.

In the case of a utility company, the requirement is to make sure labourers reach sites at scheduled time. “Sometimes the workers will take it easy and their delay will lead to the cancellation of the planned work and loss for the company. To avoid this challenge, we have this Enterprise Resource Planning and Tracking System. It helps in planning the scheduling of appointments and follow up with tracking to ensure the plan is executed.”

The system notifies the failure of a worker in reaching the work site.

A leading driving institute is using the technology to monitor 700 instructors. “Sometimes classes did not started on time and sometimes they will go on for longer time. Such irregularities were fixed with the implementation of the system,” said Elias.

A location-based auto-scheduler for maintenance works in swimming pools is a tracking system being developed for another company. “The application automatically takes the job orders from the IT system, creates the plan of sending workers and vehicles. It will monitor the duration of labour depending on the size of the pool so that workers will complete the clean-up within the fixed time.”

Arranging transport and workforce is a challenge for big companies with huge number of sites. By integrating IT into GIS, route optimisation is used to aid such companies.

“If 10 sites out of 100 sites are not visited by labourers, that will be flagged in red colour on the map.  That is how we bring the knowledge of GIS and divide the areas of operations into zones and optimise the workforce management.”

RFID technology is used in passenger transport vehicles for the owner to have an idea of what is happening in the field. “If 50 people have entered the bus and only 45 have swiped their RFID card, the system will send out an alert,” said Elias.

However, Dr M.M. Yagoub, associate professor of Remote Sensing and GIS Department of Geography at the UAE University, said privacy of workers is a concern that has to be tackled by the firms with caution.

“There should be clear cut rules and policies regarding employee tracking system. Tracking should be limited to work zones and workers should be made aware of why and how the tracking is done,” he said.

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