Smartphones for Authentication Report Released

Reconnaissance International is pleased to announce the release of its new publication – ‘Smartphones for Authentication’ – the only publication of its kind.

Smartphones are revolutionising the world of authentication, thanks to their ubiquity, connectivity, and computing power. As a result, they have given over 80% of the world’s population (ie. those people currently owning smartphones) the power to read barcodes and validate security features not previously available to them.

Smartphones are thus accelerating the move towards more standardised, universal authentication methods and are giving rise to technologies that simply didn’t exist before.

These technologies are based on the various embedded attributes of smartphones, including light sources, display screen attributes, biometric capabilities, fingerprint sensors, connectivity, and – of particular significance to authentication – camera systems.

The current and potential role of these technologies are covered at length in the new report, along with any drawbacks as far as the authentication sector is concerned.

The 60+ page publication also explores existing use cases of smartphone technologies within the authentication ecosystem, including in the individual areas of currency and payments, personal identity, product and document authentication, and tax stamps.

Emerging technologies and their potential role as authentication devices of the future are also covered, including the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the move towards wearable electronics and smart glasses.

The author of the report is Dr Alan Hodgson, an independent expert in printing and imaging technologies, who is active in the field of international standards for photography, printed electronics, and wearable devices.

Report sections

The report is divided into the following sections:

  • The broad landscape around smartphones for authentication: a political, economic, social, and technical (PEST) analysis.

  • Smartphone technology for secure applications: light sources, display screen attributes, biometrics, fingerprint sensors, connectivity.

  • A dedicated section on smartphone camera systems (given the importance of optical attributes for authentication).

  • A selection of case studies, including the effects of smartphones on cash use, a perspective on mobile identity, product and document authentication, and the reading of printed codes on tax stamps and labels.

  • Emerging technologies, including innovation in smartphone camera systems, emerging fingerprint technologies, distributed systems, 5G wireless networks, AI, wearable electronics, and smart glasses.

  • Asking the hard questions: has decision making shifted too far for us? Are we creating an unprecedented target for cybercrime? What about product life cycles and development paths? Where will this technology lead?

With regard to product and document authentication, in particular, the report examines the disparity between two categories of smartphone user: professional inspectors and consumers. It observes that the highest added value for smartphone authentication and traceability seems to lie in solutions that facilitate inspection by government officials and economic operators, due to the higher level of control that can be exercised in this area.

For instance, whereas a system for inspectors only needs to work on one chosen model of smartphone, a system for consumers would be expected to work on an ever-changing plethora of smartphone makes and models.

As far as tax stamps are concerned, the report explains that while smartphone solutions are available to identify and check elements such as design and holograms, it is the barcode scanning ability of the smartphone – as well as its ability to connect to a central database – that is currently employed the most in the inspection of authentication labels and tax stamps.

The report is available to order here, in PDF or printed format. Subscribers to this newsletter receive a 25% discount.