Thursday, July 15, 2021

IBM To The Rescue?

 Last year IBM and New York State implemented a "digital health pass" for the citizens of New York State.

Here is what IBM has to say about digital health passes in general and the New York State initiative specifically.

"Digital health passes – not to be confused with vaccine passports – are a voluntary, convenient option for individuals to share their health status, such as if they have been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19. Rather than having to remember to carry around multiple documents, people with digital health passes can share a scannable QR code on their smartphone or print a paper copy of their credential that confirms their status, while personal information remains securely encrypted in a digital wallet on the individual’s phone. 

"With COVID-19 vaccine rollouts underway around the world, digital health passes are one of many tools governments, private companies, nonprofits and industry groups are considering to help people return to their favorite activities. For example, in March 2021, New York State launched Excelsior Pass, a free, secure and voluntary digital health pass to support the safe reopening of New York. 

"Even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, digital credentialing technology will remain a useful tool for individuals to show they have received any necessary vaccinations or other aspects of their health status. Digital credentials could also become a useful way for schools to manage student vaccination records or for employers to oversee any medical clearances or vaccinations required for job sites". 

Reference: What is a vaccine passport? | IBM

It is obvious to me that, republican raving aside, digital health passes are a necessary part of travel, socializing, health maintenance and just plain daily living from here on out.

As such they need to be mandatory for a nation's citizens to participate in any group based, out of home activities.

The good news is that the IBM QR Code based implementation is as easy as carrying a smart phone, a skill that most of us have acquired long ago.

In service of those facts I have an idea.

IBM has a huge population of current employees and living retirees.

I think the company should set up a facility to allow that population to submit the necessary information to issue each current and retired IBMer a digital health pass.

This endeavor should be supported by a heavy duty social media campaign.

I think all businesses that do business with some sort of queue - people actually or virtually waiting in line - ought to give digital health certificate bearing clients immediate head of the line status.

As a follow on IBM could offer the service, for free, to all Americans.

As we always knew at IBM, there is no substitute for a well conducted product demonstration.

And what better demonstration of ease of use and utilitarian usability could there be but some schmuck behind you in line somewhere getting called to the head of the line?

I, at least, am more than willing to give up the phantom liberty denied me by such a system to get to the head of the line.

If IBM people getting to the head of the line were to incent masses of their fellows to demand the same credential, the QR Code digital health pass could become the basis for a new era of safe and easy life in America, republican raving notwithstanding.

As a follow on project, it might even be possible to add voter validation credentials - I understand the QR format has vast data storage capability.

Even Texas might be forced to enfranchise some voters.

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