It’s where it’ll all be happening. For better or worse.
Texas is now 100% open.
Well, wasn’t it always?
While other states hunkered down and worried about COVID-19, many Texan leaders 100% openly suggested it was all a lot of overblown drama.
You know, like the home of independent power losing, well, its power for a week.
My urge, then, is to seek help. With blessed coincidence, news of a new technology drifted to my screen. It’s a technology that just might come in useful for those soon seeking to make money from mass public gatherings.
WRSTBND — a random collection of letters someone once put together for their license plate — is a company creating what it calls “next-gen event tech.” It proclaims, with almost Texan certainty, that it’s “your no-room-for-error technology partner.”
And now, with the use of Mendix’s low-code inventiveness, WRSTBND has launched Passport.
This, it says, is “an innovative capacity-management application that will make live events both safer and more convenient for consumers now and as the world transitions to its post-pandemic activities.”
You might imagine that any event organizer would be fascinated by something like this.
WRSTBND makes contactless payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay easier. Moreover, WRSTBND technology has already been used to get at least some people “safely” into events like the College Football National Championship game.
But let’s talk about that safety idea. If enough people in your state never thought COVID-19 was a big deal — and that’s just about every state, I fear — then being told that all businesses are suddenly 100% wide open will likely contribute to their relaxed countenance.
They may act as if nothing ever happened. They may even feel entitled to behave as they like, despite an individual business’s wishes.
One can understand that WRSTBND technology, comprising RFID scanning hardware, edge computing, and real-time mobile transactions tied to backend processes, could truly assist in so many ways. But can it prevent the entirely careless from getting proximate with the somewhat careful?
Conway Solomon, WRSTBND’s CEO, told me its claim of greater safety is based on “the event/producer health or safety protocols that we can require before a person is physically allowed to enter the event.”
So this is tech that can bar people?
“We have just made a partnership with a company called Cleared4 where we will be linking in with their Covid data for each person (PCR results, vaccination status, symptom check, temperature checks, etc),” said Solomon. “This will allow us to physically allow or disallow, or even divide where people go into the event based on their status.”
That’s quite a chilling picture. And indeed, however open a city or state might be, event organizers will have deep decisions to make with regard to their protocols. (Live and let die will surely be a tempting option for the most venal.)
Let’s be clear, though, this technology can stop certain people from entering?
Solomon offered me a concrete example: “So if you haven’t completed or passed a PCR test or similar, you cannot enter the event using WRSTBND’s technology.”
I have friends who have very large TVs and sound systems. They regularly spend their evenings watching live shows and believing that this is a fine way to enjoy them.
Personally, I’d rather be there, take in the atmosphere, the smoke, and the terrible burgers.
How long, though, before anything approaching (what we used to call) normality will reign?
Or might it be that protocols such as WRSTBND’s become the norm for all time?