Your bank, ID and keys – all in one

  • Date 10 Sep 2012

You leave your house to go on holiday, lock the front door behind you and start the car. At the airport, you pay the parking fee and go through security with a flash of your passport before boarding your flight. On arrival, you check into your hotel and arrange for a transport pass for the exact duration of your journey before swiping on to the metro and heading to the museum you have already bought your ticket for.

A common enough scenario but what if – instead of having keys, wallet, passport and printed tickets – every single one of these interactions was performed wirelessly with your smartphone?

“We’re just at the point where the full potential of the technology for smartphones to be a central point in secure services is starting to be fulfilled. Although there are some technical challenges to overcome to get to this point, we firmly believe that smartphones will transform how consumers interact with a range of day-to-day secure items – not just your bank card and wallet but also your house and car keys, your travel tickets, loyalty schemes, healthcare devices, even corporate access and beyond.”

The smartphone has some inherent advantages that make this vision of the future possible. Not only is the device linked directly to an individual – and usually carried on their person at all times – but it offers a flexible user interface and processing platform. Moreover, increasingly the technology to secure the required connectivity, imaging or data processing capabilities is already embedded in the phone.

Jon continued: “The key limiting factor is access to the secure store of information on the device, and who controls this – the smartphone designer, the mobile network operator, a third-party ‘trusted service manager’ or the end user. The last approach – where the end user controls the secure element in the same way you currently control which apps are on your smartphone – is gaining support in some application areas. Despite this uncertainty, many organisations – ourselves included – are looking at ways to take advantage of the technology in order to open up a whole new world of products and services in medical and pharmaceutical, home care, automotive, transport, energy and consumer markets.

“In addition, the opportunity for secure data collection, processing and communication has an immediate application in the increasingly valuable area of authentication and track and trace to secure supply chains against counterfeit or diverted products and other illegal activities, whilst providing an easily customisable and upgradeable set of applications and user interfaces to suit different stakeholders.”

“The ubiquity of smartphones, and their technical capabilities, means the security sector has to start thinking far more intelligently about the potential applications,” said Ian Lancaster, director of Reconnaisance International. “While it may not happen overnight, the vision Cambridge Consultants has set out is certainly a compelling one. The company is one of the leading innovators in both wireless and security technology and is at the forefront of finding out just what smartphones can do for businesses and consumers. Its expertise in examining the function of smartphones in authentication and traceability will bring significant additional value to these two security events.”

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