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Blog: Micro-chipping staff? That’s a tough sell…

Micro-chipping offers hints at future internal comms challenges

February 6, 2015

Oh my. This is a brain bender.

Imagine walking into the office to be greeted with the news: “We’re planning to insert microchips into the hands of our employees. It’s going to be wonderful for all involved – both for the business and our staff. Can you tell them all though? Thanks.”

Sound far fetched? Perhaps but it’s not quite as surreal as you may imagine.

Boffins in Sweden are giving some office workers at a innnovation centre the opportunity to have state-of-the-art technology inserted under their skin.

It will allow those working at the Stockholm-based Epicenter to open doors and operate office machines with a simple swipe of a hand.

I read this with great interest, my mind playing over the delightful situation of informing colleagues that their employer would be getting under their skin – literally (forgive me – there were far too many puns connected to this article without including one).

Not one of the IC textbooks or seminars that I’ve encountered to date would prepare me for such a scenario – and yet incredibly this is the type of situation that could become increasingly evident in the coming years.

Can you imagine some of the questions? Here’s some that leapt into my mind – and a few potential answers*.

Q. Can we take the chip out ourselves and insert when needed?
A. Er, no.

Q. Is this simply a stealthy way of monitoring us?
A. No.

Q. Will you be tracking all of our individual movements?
A. Yes! It’s our primary goal – to know how exactly steps you take every day at home and work.

Q. What happens if I lose it?
A. Contact A&E.

Q. I like my hands as they are. Can I have it placed somewhere else?
A. …

Forgive the sarcasm.

Undoubtedly there are benefits – making pin numbers and passwords redundant as well as beefing up security – although convincing a workforce about the potential plus points is another matter entirely.

“We already interact with technology all the time,” said Hannes Sjoblad, the chief disruption officer at the Swedish bio-hacking group BioNyfiken who is in charge of implanting the chips.

“Today it’s a bit messy: we need pin codes and passwords. Wouldn’t it be easy to just touch with your hand? That’s really intuitive.”

An interesting point.

But should corporate micro-chipping become commonplace, it would no doubt fall to company IC teams to communicated such controversial proposals to staff – a massive challenge for all involved.

Ouch.

We all know that internal communication is evolving.

Ask anyone inside the industry and they’d agree – although certain areas are undoubtedly progressing faster than others.

But new technology continues to change the boundaries in the most unusual ways.

It is still IC but perhaps not quite as we know it at the moment.

* Some of these may not be sensible to replicate in a real-life situation.