To be Chipped or not to be Chipped – that is the question

The world is becoming a smart place. Smartphones. Smart watches. Smart speakers. Smart thermostats. Smart power switches. Smart smoke detectors. Smart vacuums. Smart pet cameras. Smart home hubs, Smart displays in supermarkets and retail stores, even Smart devices with alluring names like Alexa and Siri.

The way that we conduct our everyday lives is getting “smarter”, with the Internet of Things set to make a massive impact on us all. But how far would you go?

A Wisconsin vending machine company recently announced that fifty of its employees will have microchips implanted in their hands, to facilitate wireless payment for snacks as part of a voluntary test program. The news has created a stir – and plenty of divided opinions.

On the one hand (excuse the pun), it could make our lives a lot easier, with quick and simple applications such as opening doors at the wave of a hand, operating various devices and making instant contactless payments. No more pockets bulging with coins or bags full of sharp keys. It’s an attractive proposition. Moreover, you and others could always know where you are in the world and you could never get lost.

On the other (non-chipped?) hand, to some who have due concerns , it smacks of “Big Brother” (not the TV show) and the possibility of personal security and health risks in the future. Microchips have been reported to eventually “travel” around microchipped pets’ bodies – so could the same happen to a human being? The mind boggles. You’ve had a microchip placed in your hand, then years down the line, you end up having to present another part of your anatomy to the microchip reader! Likewise, if these physically-embedded microchip applications could be hacked, who knows what chaos this might cause? It could be a much worse than simply being mistakenly vended a chocolate bar instead of your favourite low calorie fizzy drink.

The wild imagination could go further, with the risk of limbs being removed by unscrupulous burglars, or even involuntary external control of our own bodies. Think of a Pavlov’s dog reaction pre-programmed for slimmers who get too close to those tempting vending machines.

Whilst I embrace the exciting opportunities that wireless connectivity presents in all its forms, I personally will be sticking to ridding myself of those obsolete £1 coins in vending machines before October 15th 2017. The only chips I will be putting into myself for now will be the ones with plenty of salt and vinegar.

For a much less intrusive and painless alternative, NFC tags and associated bespoke mobile apps are now available from Scantech Solutions for a multitude of innovative retail and non-retail applications, and can be easily added to a wide variety of print and marketing items. Please contact us to find out the full potential of what NFC can really do for your organisation, your sales, your security or your workforce.

Tim Matthews, Sales Executive