Business Dilemma

Personal sensing devices are becoming more commonplace in everyday life. Unfortunately, radio transmissions from these devices can create unexpected privacy concerns if not carefully designed. We demonstrate these issues with a widely-available commercial product, the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, which contains a sensor that users put in one of their shoes and a receiver that users attach to their iPod Nanos. Students and researchers from the University of Washington found out that the transmitter in a sneaker can be read up to 60 feet away. Through the use of a prototype surveillance system, the researchers could track someone wearing Nike+iPod sensors, plot their location on a GoogleMaps-based website and emai and text-messaging real-time surveillance data to anyone.

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You are interested in deploying sensor technology in the cafe to help revamp operations. How would you address the following:

  • Many cafes are putting sensors on the bottom of cups to help alert the wait staff that a customer needs a refill.  Would you introduce this technology to the cafe?  If so, are there any concerns with using this type of technology?
  • What other types of sensors could you deploy throughout the cafe to help operations? What concerns would you have regarding these sensors?
  • Are there any current laws that you would need to be aware of when deploying wireless technology?  If so, what types of liabilities for potential lawsuits should you be aware of to protect the cafe?  If not, what types of laws should be created to help protect customers, employees, and the cafe?

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