Smartphones are at the heart of mobile identity, opening up new avenues for authentication and digital ID.
This is thanks in large part to the mobile biometrics revolution of the last several years, which is popularly credited to Apple and its introduction of the Touch ID fingerprint scanning system on 2013’s iPhone 5S. That prompted a massive transformation across the mobile sector as other smartphone companies implemented their own fingerprint authentication systems, and major rivals went on to explore new modalities for authentication such as iris recognition.
In 2017, Apple again made waves with its pivot to facial recognition on the iPhone X, prompting the emergence of rival systems based on 3D face mapping and 2D facial recognition alike.
Today, mobile biometrics are ubiquitous, with fingerprint sensors now considered an almost standard smartphone feature, and facial recognition quickly catching up in terms of mainstream popularity. This, in turn, has led to other innovations: various companies – most notably banks and financial services providers – began to let end users log into their apps using biometric authentication, and new mobile payment systems like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay emerged that let consumers make purchases online and in stores, verifying transactions with a biometric scan.
As mobile devices continue to be recognized as central hubs of digital identity, further innovations are in the pipeline. Some businesses are letting employees access facilities by using their NFC smartphones as contactless key cards, while government authorities are working on mobile versions of official identity documents like drivers licenses.
In the span of just about a decade, smartphones have become central to contemporary life, and they are set to become even more important as identity continues to go mobile.