Biometric software and specialized sensors are quickly becoming standard issue on smartphones and other mobile devices. Whether it’s on the newest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, a $150 budget priced smartphone, or even your old handset from days long past, chances are you can protect it with biometrics. Digital identity solutions have become essential to the future of mobility and connectivity.
The proliferation of mobile biometric solutions is a recent and massive paradigm shift. Particularly when it comes to consumer technology, the normalization of biometric security is changing the way we access not only the Internet, but other essential parts of daily life too, including financial services. Throughout August at Mobile ID World we will be focusing on this major paradigm shift in technology and identity- how it started, the ideas behind it, and where it’s taking us. Welcome to Mobile Revolution Month.
The Apple Effect
While fingerprint sensors on smartphones had existed before the Apple iPhone 5S, that flagship handset is considered the tipping point of the mobile revolution. Analysts, like Maxine Most from Acuity Market Intelligence, had been predicting that if Apple found a way to build biometrics into its mobile devices it would enable a new generation of online mobile services. Sure enough, Apple’s Touch ID marked the start of a trend that would sweep the mobile landscape as other OEMs, including rival Samsung, integrated fingerprint sensors into their flagship handsets.
The benefits were reaped by the fingerprint sensor industry. The collateral success of sensor makers was termed “The Apple effect” by NEXT Biometrics – a company that has experienced growth thanks to the mobile revolution. The follwoing links will serve to give you an overview of the role Apple has played in popularizing the fingerprint sensor on the mobile device.
The App Effect
Immediately after fingerprint sensors became the big thing on smartphones it became clear that there was a demand on lower end models and old generation devices. Not everyone can afford the newest iPhone or Galaxy device, and even today there are still smartphone brands that have eschewed the tip of your finger as security. Thankfully, biometric software solutions soon followed in the wake of the fingerprint sensor trend, allowing any phone with a mic or a front facing camera to embrace the shift toward biometrics as well. From voice, to face, to the veins in your eye, biometric apps can measure a range of body parts without the need to upgrade your hardware. The following links will provide you with an idea of how software has factored into the mobile revolution.
Making a Set of Rules
Months before the iPhone 5S introduced Touch ID, a consortium prophesying the death of passwords officially formed. The FIDO Alliance brought together key interests in the world of authentication to establish specifications for strong online authentication. Now, years later, FIDO has implemented its UAF (Universal Authentication Factor) and U2F (Universal Second Factor) standards, ensuring interoperability and a high level of accountability across a wide range of devices. The Alliance experienced massive growth in its first year, published its FIDO 1.0 draft specifications the next year, and now boasts an impressive membership with real world implementations.
FIDO was not the only industry consortium assembled in the opening days of the mobile revolution. The Natural Security Alliance was formed that same year, meant to allow for the development of standards in Europe enabling biometric payment. The following links will give you an overview of how these organizations have helps keep the revolution going by highlighting major milestones.
The convenience offered by mobile biometrics has finally made it possible to realize the mobile wallet. Last September, when Apple unveiled its second generation of Touch ID devices, it also announced Apple Pay, a biometrically enabled feature made possible with a great number of partnerships that allows users to pay for real life goods and services via their iPhones. This once again signalled another trend in smartphone tech, as Apple’s major rivals followed up with their own mobile wallets and financial institutions began to pilot their own solutions. The following links will serve as a short crash course in the recent popularity of mobile wallet technology as enabled by biometrics.
The Revolution Goes Global
Now, the mobile revolution has gone global, and is most apparent in the Asian markets where OEMs are embracing biometrics at an incredible rate. Fingerprint Cards AB and its partner Precise Biometrics have particularly been finding success there, with a large number of smartphone integrations of their respective biometric technologies on major brand name phones. NTT DoCoMo – a wireless provider you’ll remember from the top of this article as having premiered a fingerprint sensor phone before Apple – brought iris recognition to the revolution just recently. The mobile revolution is still underway on a world wide level, but in order to fully grasp its activity, taking a look at the Asian markets is your best bet.
Stick with us throughout August as we continue to examine the mobile revolution in our featured articles. Join the conversation by following us on Twitter and tweeting with the hashtag #MIDWRevolution