It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention. Human needs often breed new innovations and advances in society. We are already seeing this play out in the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will likely see many more new innovations and advancements in the coming months. New technologies may also be required to help secure future public gatherings and sporting events. Once the pandemic subsides and public sporting events begin to re-emerge, a new layer of security could be introduced to protect fans attending future sporting events.
An Ottawa area doctor has already predicted what one additional level of security might look like.
“It would be effectively barcode enabled,” says Dr. Kumanan Wilson, an innovation advisor at Bruyère and a physician at the Ottawa Hospital. “Just like when you go to a sporting event [and] they scan your ticket, they are going to scan your barcode for proof of immunity.”
“We’re going to need some kind of test that is proof of immunity to get people back into society,” Wilson told CBC Sports. “Otherwise, it’s a roll of the dice trying to open up these stadiums and large gatherings of people.”
(A proposal of proof of immunity from CANImmunize that might allow fans to gather in crowds at stadiums and arenas without threat of contagion. (CANImmunize))
The “proof of immunity” concept detailed above will obviously require a new COVID-19 vaccine to be in place prior to its deployment. But what about in the meantime?
VST Enterprises Ltd (VSTE), a UK-based cyber security firm, announced a ‘sports health passport’ platform to help kickstart attendances at all British sporting events over the coming months when the country emerges from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to SportsPro, the platform can then be used in conjunction with a government approved COVID-19 testing kit that confirms and validates whether the holder has been tested negative or positive for coronavirus or has the antibody present. In future updates, it will include confirmation that they are vaccinated.
Once the test has been completed, the results will be updated to a fan’s digital passport. After that person is vaccinated, it will act as permanent proof of the individual being virus free and protected.
Providing the fan has tested negative, they will be allowed to purchase a ticket for their sporting event by validating their digital health passport, after which they will receive a unique VCode to be scanned before entering a venue.
There are obviously many questions that remain regarding these proposed applications. However, proponents of these new digital health passport technologies make it clear that they are not intended to be “the magic bullet”, but rather one potential aid to assist in the return of live sporting events.
We are still early in the response and recovery associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is very likely we will see new technologies emerge to support the return of public sporting events, including digital health passports.
By Jon Sorensen