Three Square Market (River Falls, WI), a provider of micro market break room solutions for vending operators, is expecting over 50 staff members to take part in the optional program at a “chip party” on August 1. Employees that are implanted with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip will then, among other things, be able to make purchases in their break room micro market – a mini convenience store using self-checkout kiosks located in their break room – without requiring a separate card or ID.
About the size of a grain of rice and storing unique encrypted data, the passive RFID chip can be implanted between the thumb and forefinger underneath the skin within seconds. The implant, which costs about $300, uses near-field communications (NFC) – the same technology used in contactless credit cards and mobile payments – and needs to be within about six inches of an NFC terminal to work.
“We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at other RFID terminals,” says Three Square Market Todd Westby.
“Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc. We see chip technology as the next evolution in payment systems, much like micro markets have steadily replaced vending machines.”
Three Square Market hopes to use this technology to expand into other self-checkout markets. “We see this as another payment and identification option that not only can be used in our markets but our other self-checkout/self-service applications that we are now deploying, which include convenience stores and fitness centers,” says Three Square Market COO Patrick McMullan.
Three Square Market is partnering with BioHax International, based out of Sweden. Earlier this year, Epicenter, a Swedish startup, also made news when it began a program of implanting microchips into its employees.
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