Traveling salespeople of yore could get away with plenty because, hey, who was ever gonna find out? These days, there's a smartphone in your pocket and a boss at the other end of the internet expecting an answer. That's where FreshTeam comes in, which is an Android and iOS app designed to let employers keep track of employees without needing to harass them. By harnessing the sensors in your smartphone with its own algorithmic secret-sauce, the app is capable of detecting your presence without your input. The service allows your boss to know where you are, what you're doing and how much battery you've got left on your device without ever having to ask. Yep, it does sound like a privacy nightmare, but the team's reasoning does make some sense, at least on paper.
FreshTeam's big idea is to eliminate what it calls "low value messaging," the sort of chats that could easily be automated away forever. For instance, if a boss wants to know where you are, they can spot your GPS location without having to ask. It can even detect when you're behind the wheel thanks to your phone's sensors, and thus redirect incoming calls so you'll keep your eyes on the road. Naturally, all of this info can be shut off when you're not at work, but it could be a useful way of dealing with a company with a lot of remote employees. The app is free on both Android and iOS, and includes both voice and video chats of up to 100 people.
As tracking technology gets cheaper and more sophisticated, it's likely that more companies will look into adopting something like this for their mobile workers. It's also likely that this will become a new battleground for employee rights, since people may resist the idea of being tracked. Earlier this year, a British newspaper put motion trackers on the desks of every staff member, ostensibly to monitor their energy usage. Workers felt that this was a violation of their privacy, and protested, leading to the devices being withdrawn in less than a day. Although, in FreshTeam's case, we imagine that you'll be aware of the system before you sign your employment contract.