The Hushme gadget, which was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show last weekend has been designed to give privacy whilst making calls. Once you have the device fastened in front of your mouth you can hold a conversation without others close by hearing what you are saying.
Although not in full production yet, the designers are looking for crowd funding to make this idea a reality. Promoting the device as ideal for an office environment where on demand privacy is sometimes not always available.
The biggest market for this could be call centres. Hundreds of people in one large space all with their mouths covered unable to interact with each other lest the bosses think they are not working. Hours and hours of constant talking into a device which is clamped round your neck and mouth.
It is well known that the first sign of a call centre when you answer the phone is the ambient noise of the centre which you can hear quite clearly. For many this is when they hang up before allowing the caller to speak.
Imagine the delight of these companies who only get paid for receiving information from the call recipient if they can cancel out this advance warning. You the customer answer the phone and with the lack of ambient noise you think you are receiving a call from friends or family, only to find it is a survey or supposed charity looking for money. In the UK many of us are inherently polite and will be unwilling to just hang up after we have said hello initially. This is what the telemarketers are counting on.
How long will it be before this new innovation in rolled out in the call centres primarily promoted as a privacy aid but in reality another tool to get more from workers both in their results and productivity.
They say people have rights in the workplace, I do hope so, because wearing this for hours per day would mean you were receiving worse treatment than many working animals. If that is acceptable in the UK workplace then I fear for our future.