By Joseph Pritikin, Director of product marketing, AOptix
It may be two years, it may be ten, but soon enough the identity credential will look very much like Facebook, YouTube, or Amazon: It will be an app or functionality embedded within an app on your smart mobile device. While the identity credential will be enabled by physical aspects of the device, the credential itself will be virtual, just bits and bytes. This transformation will make identity more broadly useful, more portable and more secure.
The march toward secure digital identity credentials has been long but the digital manifestation of identity, from e-passports, national ID cards, electronic health records and Web logon credentials, is now tightly bound to the nature of identity itself. The progression has been enabled by a variety of key technologies, including PKI, advanced encryption algorithms and secure microprocessors, such as those found in smart cards and NFC devices. It has also been enabled by a wide range of international standards that specify how to format data, how to communicate, and how to secure information, whether it is in transit or at rest.
Somewhat in contrast, the emergence of the smart phone has been rapid and the influence on our lives has been profound. The smart phone is now poised to change identity and to provide the platform that will ultimately enable the identity credential to become fully digital, freed from the confines of a passport book or printed card.
Leveraging the progression toward digital ID discussed above, the smart phone is an ideal transition point for a number of reasons. In many cases it already has the secure microprocessor and the capability to support a secure communications infrastructure through various interfaces. It has a large display that can clearly show the critical information that would usually be printed on a standard identity credential. And of great importance, it has a rich suite of sensors, from the camera to the microphone to the GPS and beyond that can support multi-factor authentication, especially biometric identity verification.
Perhaps most importantly, though, the smart phone is showing the ability to be truly ubiquitous. From 2010 to 2015, smart phone yearly sales are expected to increase from 300 million units to more than 1 billion units. In other words, in 2015 alone, approximately 15% of the world’s population will buy a new smart phone. With continued growth, the smartphone is on track to become the carrying case for all of our identity credentials.
At AOptix, our perspective on this topic is borne out of two sets of experiences, each from different corners of the world. On one side, we are a Silicon Valley-based company and are lucky enough to be down the road from Apple, Google, Intel, NVIDIA, Symantec, LinkedIn and Facebook. The ethos of our neighborhood is that many aspects of life are being made better, more efficient and more connected by digital and smartphone technologies. And identity is a key aspect of this digital revolution, from who you know to how you pay to how you stay healthy and beyond.
On the other side of the world, we are privileged to have the opportunity to work with many of the progressive states in the Middle East, including Qatar and the UAE, helping to enable the future of their travel and border management solutions.
In particular, by providing advanced biometric identity verification solutions, we are part of a movement to make the travel experience better through automation and more secure through digital identity management. These nations are thoughtful and progressive in their use of biometrics and digital identity. And as a sign of things to come, this year the Emirates Identity Authority announced that they are developing a new version of the UAE national ID card that will be fully digital, residing on NFC-equipped mobile devices.
As we feel that their thought-leadership in border management is a sign of a fast, efficient, and secure travel process to come, we clearly share their vision regarding the future of identity credentials.
Just thinking ten years back, with our monochrome camera-less flip phones, how likely did it seem that today we would be scanning checks, transferring money, paying for coffee, boarding airplanes, and even enabling government services with our mobile devices? And yet, today we can take each of these digital identity capabilities for granted. In a few short years, we will see the identity credential more completely merge into the smart device itself. Your driver’s license, health care card, payment cards, and beyond will simply be apps on your phone. The era of Smart Mobile Identity is upon us.
About the AVISIAN Publishing Expert Panel
At the close of each year, AVISIAN Publishing’s editorial team selects a group of key leaders from various sectors of the ID technology market to serve as Expert Panelists. Each individual is asked to share their unique insight into what lies ahead. During the month of January, these panelist’s predictions are published daily at the appropriate title within the AVISIAN suite of ID technology publications: SecureIDNews, ContactlessNews, CR80News, NFCNews, DigitalIDNews, ThirdFactor, RFIDNews, EnterpriseIDNews, FinancialIDNews, GovernmentIDNews, HealthIDNews, FIPS201.com, IDNoticias es.