back to article As if Productivity Score wasn't creepy enough, Microsoft has patented tech for 'meeting quality monitoring devices'

The slightly creepy "Productivity Score" may not be all that's in store for Microsoft 365 users, judging by a trawl of Redmond's patents. One that has popped up recently concerns a "Meeting Insight Computing System", spotted first by GeekWire, created to give meetings a quality score with a view to improving upcoming get- …

  1. Wellyboot Silver badge

    More utter BS from MS

    If during a technical meeting I speak with a slow vocal cadence while firing off emails as part of to the ongoing discussion do I get a poor 'focus' score?

  2. Steve K Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Bzzzt

    Bzzzt! John Spartan, you are fined 100 credits

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    So when Mr Shouty spends all the time spouting and everyone else shuts down as they can't get a word in, I wonder who it sees as the key people at the meeting ?

    What happens when someone takes an important phone call about the huge order / loss of a family member / any of thousands of other exception cases ?

    If you want drones to work for you, then the chances are that I don't want to work for you. You also need to recognise that innovation comes from people being individual and having different skills, so hitting them with the same productivity hammer doesn't work.

    Person X answers the call 50 times a day - keeps customer happy

    Engineer Y designs solution for next 50 years and provides a huge revenue stream as a result

    Accountant Z spends all their time looking for ways to cut costs and cripple the company whilst looking like he's saving today.

    Who is your strongest staff member ? How would you prioritise them ? How do they all work in meetings ?

    Utter tripe to assume that this can be handled by magic fairy dust software even when you do stick the bulshit bingo words into it.

    AI, ML, productivity, monitoring, future proof

    Better add blockchain and encryption too for good luck.

    Oh and if you want improved productivity, cancel half of the meetings and get rid of the constant interruptions with various IM technologies so that we can get on with the real work.

  4. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    It will not catch on

    Just apply it to any senior management presentation to the masses and it will show a negative score for the manager.

    I used to attend information calls, where senior managers would tell us 'commodities' (for that is how we were seen) what they thought was going on and how 'we' were doing. Sometimes in over half an hour of spoken presentation, had I not already known, I would not know what business we were in from what had been presented*.

    Then there was the manager who used to have telephone conferences starting at 10:00 in the morning. We had an hour break for lunch at 12:30, then two hours break at 5pm to get home then continue until 10:00 in the evening (yes, Bob, I am looking at you). Complete wast of time, on more than one occasion, twice in one week too :o( .

    And, if course the 'valued customer' who insisted on project update calls at 5:00pm every weekday (yes, including Fridays), who never actually did anything at all except arrange and attend meetings and conference calls. Curiously the project actually began to make some progress when he left...

    As the software guessing the 'productivity 'of the meeting cannot possibly check that any decisions made are not changed later, it will be a complete waste of time. But really useful for the 'Management Consultants' going on about 'Productivity scores', 'Organisational Health Index', or whatever the buzzwords are now.

    Just as long as it does not eavesdrop on the IM comments us 'commodities' pass between ourselves (my personal favourite being the head banging against a wall) commenting on the contents, weather, or likelihood of survival of the manager / project / company in the near future, it might be ok, I suppose.

    *Telecommunications and IT system integration as it happened.

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "Metrics include the take-up of messaging platforms versus email "

    A measure of productivity? More like a measure of broken governance, as Equifax found out the hard way: "From July 29 to September 15, 2017, Equifax considered Lync messages as disposable under its document retention policy even though they contained substantive communications about the data breach “recorded in the course of company business activity.” [US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Equifax breach report pp 64-67]

    The true measure of meeting productivity is material results. However on that basis most meetings I've attended at all levels from international to SMB would score zero (or even less).

    But quite apart from this, I wonder how much of the "information" gathered will finish up at Redmond. Business meetings should be considered confidential by default, particularly from self-avowed data accumulators.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else had enough of "insights" being added to everything within the MS world?

    For example, what is the "MyAnalytics | Wellbeing Edition" stuff that gets dumped in my Outlook inbox about? Worse still, it can't be disabled from the Mac version.

    Is this all Clippy's revenge?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Anyone else had enough of "insights" being added to everything within the MS world?

      A simple email rule fixed that for me:

      Sender = no-reply@microsoft.com | Action = move to deleted folder

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That Microsoft Algorithm in full...

    # 0 = no productivity; -ve = sucking productivity from others.

    if isApplicationRunning("Teams") or isApplicationRunning("PowerPoint") {

    productivity = 0

    }

    else {

    # junior staff have lower seniorityInCompany index.

    productivity=100 - (seniorityInCompany() * 10)

    }

  8. jake Silver badge

    Fuck you, Microsoft.

    Need I say more?

  9. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Whom do you trust to correctly apply the objective case?

    (sorry)

  10. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    And if that doesn't worry attendees, how about some more metrics to measure how focused a person is? Are they taking care of emails, messaging or enjoying a surf of the internet when they should be paying attention to the speaker?

    I do those things during IRL meetings...

  11. quartzz

    McFly, you're fired...

  12. big_D Silver badge
    Facepalm

    As long...

    as it is disabled by default, can be disabled by policy and can only be activated by the individual user for himself...

    Such spying on employees is illegal here, if this defaults to on or an employee becomes wind that the company is using such features, it would quickly lead to a court case for breaking privacy and data protection laws.

    1. Steve K Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: As long...

      ..but you could automate "Bullshit Bingo" via Cortana, and also do a secret fart tally. It's not all bad.....;-)

  13. 0laf Silver badge
    Big Brother

    One would hope that most senior people would see the BS in this but then you can sell any old shite to a director if you dress that turd in a shiny enough suit.

    I'm regularly in lengthy meetings where long sections have little to nothing to do with me, I would have though that I was actually being more efficient by fireing off emails whilst I'm not needed. But possibly MS says 'no' and it's going to tell the big boss I wasn't paying attention enough and I need my probes pushed in further.

  14. John Sturdy
    Big Brother

    Apparently polysomnography is the gold standard for this

    I've got an Oura ring, which supposedly works out whether I'm asleep or awake. But https://www.medpagetoday.com/practicemanagement/informationtechnology/78317 suggests it might not be that accurate; so will managers want to connect the managed to lots more shiny equipment to tell whether they are awake, sleeping lightly, or sleeping deeply, in meetings (or at their desks)?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "meeting quality monitoring devices"

    soon to be made into job description: demonstrably happy to be in this shitty job

  16. IGotOut Silver badge

    How to make meetings efficient.

    Don't bother having any.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: How to make meetings efficient.

      But what would the PowerPoint "experts" do?

  17. Falmari Bronze badge
    Big Brother

    Whats the unit of measure?

    Whats the unit of measure for meeting quality?

    Seriously how the hell can you measure the quality of a meeting?

    Were hardly any questions asked because the people giving the meeting were very good at imparting information or because everyone was bored senseless and wanted to get out as quickly as possible.

    Were questions asked because it was the type of meeting that requires the attendees to think, question and explore possibilities or were the people that asked questions arse-licking toadies that need to be seen or ask questions that they know will make the person that answers look good.

    Did I not ask questions because I know my stuff and understood everything or because I couldn’t give a fucking damn?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you need a third party to tell you how "good" your meetings are,

    instead of sussing out how people are participating, then maybe you shouldn't be leading or having meetings. For example, if no one offers any comments except after looooong silences or multiple verbal prods, or if the conversation spends more time in off-topic Detourland than on the business at hand, one may not be having a particularly effective meeting, yah?

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