Are Microchip Implants The Future Of Ticketing?
Monday, November 6, 2017
Pause Fest is one of Australia’s leading innovative and creative tech events, and to launch its 2018 festival the team implanted an injectable NFC microchip into 10 of their guests’ hands.
The $200 microchip holds a three-day VIP pass for participants to attend Pause Fest 2018, acting as a replacement to the traditional paper tickets. It will give the VIPs not only to access all areas of the festival, but also the ability to unlock digital assets of the festival, including quick access to the agenda via their mobile phone and a frictionless exchange of business cards as they stroll through the startup exhibit.
PR stunt or the future of ticketing?
When asked about the true purpose of the new tickets, Pause Fest founder George Hedon said:
“It is less about the ticketing aspect and more about pioneering a digital experience. There has been talk about inserting chips for sometime, but aside from chipping dogs and pets little has been done to see how they can improve our lives." The chip -- aside from its festival use -- also has the ability to act as a key to a house, unlock a smartphone, and it can be programmed to engage a website or app on a smartphone when scanned.
"It is an experiment more than anything, to see if and how we can benefit humanity from such technology. If it adds no value or people don't like it, it is not hard to remove it," Hedon continued. The VIPs will give their take on the advantages and disadvantages of life with the microchip at the 2018 festival.
But a look at the VIPs chosen shows the move is also meant to generate buzz. Social media influencer Gretta Van Riel, who has an impressive 16 million followers across accounts, was one recipient of the microchip injection.
She admits that while the majority of feedback from fans was positive, she did receive some backlash for her involvement in the program. One fan went as far as quoting scripture and letting her know that now, more than likely, she bares the mark of the devil on her right hand.
This is not the first attempt at employing microchips for everyday use. This past August, American company Three Square Market (32M) offered to implant their employees with $300 microchips, which allowed them to log onto the company system, buy snacks, and open doors with a wave of their hand. Of the 85 people on staff, 41 chose to be microchipped.
Four months earlier, a Swedish startup hub, Epicenter, offered microchips to its workers and startup members. They function as swipe cards to open doors, operate printers, and buy smoothies. Patrick Mesterton, cofounder and CEO of Epicenter, believes “the biggest benefit, I think, is convenience … it basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.”
There is much resistance to being microchipped, with many believing it invades privacy. However, Hedon makes a good point: “Shock factor aside, people have been living with pacemakers and augmenting their bodies for years. Why not a chip that can help us with technology?”