Business meetings are part of the daily lives of many people around the world. Many of these meetings take longer than expected, which in turn may bore the participants. Microsoft has patented a technology that can recognize when participants in a meeting are bored or distracted.
The patent describes a technology that is not just for online meetings. There may be a system of devices in the meeting room and the performance of each participant can be analyzed.
The technology will recognize facial expressions to assess whether the person is distracted or bored. In addition, his overall contribution to the meeting will be monitored in relation to other actions, such as writing SMS, surfing the Internet, checking email, and more. The schedule of each participant will also be taken into account, including how many other meetings he had on the same day.
The data will be used to create an assessment of the quality of the whole meeting. It will then be compared with assessments of other meetings at a similar time and with similar participants.
The idea is to use the accumulated information in organizing other meetings. For example, when scheduling a morning meeting with specific participants, the system can warn the organizer that these people prefer meetings in the afternoon and so be more productive at another time, or that they are more likely to leave the meeting in the morning to pick up a cup of coffee.
For now, the system is only a patent, and there is no information on whether Microsoft plans to implement it as a product. Large companies often patent a variety of ideas and developments, even if they do not reach the market.