Telecoms boss gets NFC access control chip implanted in hand

An NFC chip is injected into a Tele2 employee's hand
WORK IN HAND: An NFC chip is injected into a Tele2 employee’s hand. Image:

Staff at Estonian telecoms operator Tele2 have been fitted with NFC chips implanted in their hands — and the first in line was the firm’s chief executive.

Employees from CEO Chris Robbins downwards can now simply wave their hands to unlock doors in the firm’s Ülemiste City offices.

“Chip installation, of course, is voluntary, but I promised to do a test before other employees,” said Robbins. “There is nothing to worry about, life is going to be more comfortable, and it’s never worrying that the [keycard] will get lost.”

The NFC tags, encased in glass and 2mm diameter by 12mm long, replace the firm’s door cards and offer feature parity with the existing cards which can be used for access control and collecting print jobs from office printers. A video shows how the chip is implanted between the thumb and forefinger in a user’s hand (Third party content; may contain advertisements).

Margus Nõlvak, chairman of the management board of Ülemiste City — a 36 hectare business park built on the site of a former rolling stock factory on the edge of Estonia’s capital Tallinn — has also been carrying a chip in his hand for over a year, and now around half of his team does too.

“Technologically, a similar chip in cooperation with financial institutions could be used as a bank card or in cooperation with the state as an ID card,” said Nõlvak.

Estonia is known for its leadership in digital society implementation and its highly-developed national ID card system. As well as being a legal photo ID, the mandatory identity card also provides digital access to all of Estonia’s secure e-services.

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