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You are your smartphone

Mike Elgan | Oct. 27, 2015
How new apps and services are using your phone as a proxy for you.

Another rental system, also being tested in San Francisco, takes smartphone authentication even further. A startup called Scoot, which specializes in electric scooter rentals, has a few four-wheel mini cars called Scoot Quads. You locate one to rent by using either the company's website or the Scoot app to learn where previous users have parked them. When you get to the Scoot Quad, you use your phone to start it and then you plug your phone into the vehicle and it acts as the dashboard.

Of course, this a temporary state of affairs. Systems won't be using phones to authenticate users for long. Fingerprint authentication is quickly becoming standard on smartphones, and it's only a matter of time before anything you do will require a finger scan. That will provide, for lack of a better term, two-factor authentication whereby you'll need both possession of a specific phone and possession of the correct finger. Currently, finger scanning is an optional way to gain access to a device; it's not required for use of most apps.

For now, however, the trend is to treat your smartphone as a proxy for you. Your identity is established by access to your phone. You are your smartphone.


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