Employees at Three Square Market (32M) will soon be getting a tech upgrade: Biochips, imbedded in their hands. The company will become the first in the US to offer implanted microchip technology to all employees, essentially replacing ID badges and allowing users to open doors, log in to computers, and make purchases in the break room.
32M expects about 50 staff members to be voluntarily chipped at company headquarters in River Falls, WI on August 1, according to a press release. The chips will be implanted between an employee's thumb and forefinger underneath the skin, in a process that only takes seconds, the release noted.
The company is partnering with BioHax International, based in Sweden, to provide the RFID chips to employees. The chips use near-field communications (NFC)—the same tech used in contactless credit cards and mobile payment systems.
Employees will be able to scan their chips to make purchases in the office break room, open doors, operate copy machines, log into computers, unlock phones, share business cards, store medical information, and act as payment at other RFID terminals, 32M CEO, Todd Westby said in the press release. "Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc," Westby said.
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While working with operators in Europe, 32M came across BioHax International and its chipped employees.
"We see chip technology as the next evolution in payment systems, much like micro markets have steadily replaced vending machines," Westby said in the release. "As a leader in micro market technology, it is important that 32M continues leading the way with advancements such as chip implants."
While this is the first time US employees will have the opportunity to be chipped company-wide, 32M isn't the first to explore this technology. Swedish biohacker Hannes Sjöblad implants microchips into employees' hands to make it easier for them to access data and gain entry to company buildings.
"The international market place is wide-open and we believe that the future trajectory of total market share is going to be driven by who captures this arena first," 32M COO Patrick McMullan said in the release. "Europe is far more advanced in mobile and chip technology usage than the U.S. and we are thrilled with the growth opportunity this enhancement will bring to us."
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
1. 32M will become the first US company to offer all of its employees implanted microchips on a voluntary basis.
2. Employees will be able to scan their chips to make purchases in the office break room, open doors, operate copy machines, log into computers, unlock phones, share business cards, store medical information, and act as payment at other RFID terminals.
3. Europe is more advanced in mobile and chip technology than the US, but the market will likely continue to grow worldwide.
- How human microchip implants could lead to the 'democratization of healthcare' via IoT (TechRepublic)
- 32M employees offered biochip hand implants for work monitoring, payments (ZDNet)
- Transhumanism: Should we use robotics to enhance humans? (TechRepublic)
- OpenAI launches, aims to advance artificial intelligence to 'benefit humanity' (ZDNet)
- Augmented reality gaining more traction than virtual reality in the enterprise (Tech Pro Research)
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.