These are the 5 drivers of mobile identities

August 28, 2023

The way people identify themselves and gain access to various services has changed worldwide. While identity used to be tied to a physical document, digital IDs are now available thanks to smartphones and mobile technology. According to HID, the world’s leading provider of trusted identity solutions, so-called mobile identities are the future for the following reasons.

Mobile devices have become an integral part of most people’s everyday lives. The actual function of the smartphone – making phone calls – has long since moved into the background. Instead, users collect important information on their devices thanks to numerous apps. In the meantime, not only cash cards can be stored on mobile phones and tablets, but also digital IDs such as driving licences, ID cards, health cards or employee cards. Such mobile identities are practical, after all, most people always have their mobile device with them. However, aspects such as authentication and data protection currently still hamper their use and acceptance. For example, only just under 10 per cent use the German electronic identity card. The following points, however, will lead to mobile identities becoming more widespread:

1. Necessary infrastructure grows

Digital transactions require a corresponding infrastructure. Without suitable readers, medical practices, for example, cannot read the insurance card stored on the smartphone. Even employees who have their company ID card in their digital wallet can hardly get into the building if the turnstile is not designed for contactless verification. Since the Covid 19 pandemic, awareness of contactless transactions has increased and the infrastructure for it is growing.

2. Trust in apps on the rise

Store your digitised bank card on your smartphone and then pay with your mobile phone? What sounded adventurous a few years ago has long since become reality. Digital wallets are paving the way to a society without cash and bank cards. The increasing acceptance of this technology is also a driver for mobile identities. After all, users see how easily and securely payments work with it and want this convenience for other transactions as well.

3. Desire for sustainability is on the rise

Younger generations such as the Millennials or Generation Z are more environmentally aware and more interested in climate change. At the same time, they are the biggest users of mobile phones. This group will therefore drive the demand for mobile identities, after all, mobile access control systems and virtual IDs make many plastic cards obsolete. Less plastic also means less CO2 emissions. The example of the access control industry is a particularly good illustration of the quest for sustainable solutions. Where physical access cards are still required, some suppliers are already introducing bamboo from sustainable cultivation as a material. In addition, access control systems that are integrated into a building management platform have the advantage that building resources can be continuously adjusted to occupancy, making companies more sustainable.

4 Satisfy the longing for simplicity

Users of mobile devices particularly appreciate having access to several applications at once with one digital solution, because it simplifies their lives. Mobile identities fulfil this desire for simplicity. In the higher education sector, for example, universities are already pursuing a mobile-first approach instead of using numerous plastic cards. Students use their mobile IDs not only to open doors, but also to borrow books from the library, pay for their meals in the canteen and much more. The same applies to employee ID cards, which employees use not only to get to their workplace, but also to charge the electric company car, log on to the PC or take papers from the printer.

5. Offer more security

Mobile identities offer more security than physical cards. All IDs stored in digital wallets are doubly secured. Firstly, by the security feature of the mobile device, for example biometric authentication, and secondly by the identity management of the provider, be it a government agency, university or employer. This dual mechanism makes every transaction extremely secure.

“The future of mobile identity depends on the wide acceptance and trust of people in the organisations and the technology,” says Markus Baba, Regional Sales Manager DACH at HID. “Governments, private sector companies and citizens need to work together to create a robust ecosystem that supports interoperability, security and inclusion. The more IDs are digitised, the more complex the solutions need to be to protect personal data and prevent data misuse. It is important to build a modern authorisation system with security management in the cloud, keeping scalability in mind. In addition, digital identity systems must take into account regional and global laws, regulations and industry standards such as the GDPR.”

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