Mobile Phones As Identity Providers

This is a concept I’ve been working on 3 years ago as part of the mSign consortium, it’s nice to see it finally happen in real world applications: mobile phones are the ideal identity provider, as they accompany you everywhere you go, and they provide a screen, a keyboard, a security module, application intelligence as well as always-on connectivity.

Nokia has now announced successful pilots with Vodafone and Orange:
“Nokia has announced successful completion of pilots with Orange and Vodafone, featuring single sign-on for mobile devices, a technology eliminating the need for multiple entering of user authentication credentials when accessing different services, such as gaming or ticket reservations. In addition, Nokia is working with America Online, Inc., to demonstrate a prototype Nokia mobile device offering Radio@AOL, a leading online radio service. All these service pilots are based on Liberty Alliance Project specifications, a group committed to developing open, interoperable specifications for network identity.”

The availability of an open protocol is what made the difference: “The successful pilots have validated the Liberty Alliance as a great example of open standardization. On top of delivering technical specifications in a timely manner, the group also provides business, privacy and policy guidelines addressing market requirements,” said Pertti Korhonen, Chief Technology Officer, Nokia.

I sure hope that many more companies will jump on this, as identity provides a groundwork for successful business models in the mobile world. Furthermore, the identity provided through that system may also propagate to the web or other services, thus eliminating the need for umpteen different solutions.


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