The evolution of the mobile device – from cell phone to center of our lives

Written By: Jeff Schmidt

Ask the average American what they simply wouldn’t leave the house without, and the answer would probably be pretty similar across the board – keys, wallet and cell phone.

The wallet and keys make sense. You’re probably not getting far without the car keys and driver’s license. And most people lock their doors these days and would want to get back into their homes. The cell phone, however, is a newer addition to that list that some folks may even consider more essential than the previous two.

Many of us would be upset if we left our wallet in the back seat of a cab, or dropped our keys down a storm drain, never to be seen again. But leaving our smartphone on a restaurant table or train seat would be a bigger travesty. Why? Because the smartphone is more than just a major expense and inconvenience to replace – it’s the center of our connected lives.

Each of us has private lives, professional lives and our lives as consumers of products and services. The cell phone – or smartphone today – touches all three of those lives. Especially as the smartphone – itself – has evolved from a small screen to the behemoth phablets that we see dominating the market.

Our smartphones are our little black books (remember those?). They’re our means of staying connected via voice conversations, video chats, instant messages and emails – especially today as more and more people cut the cord on home phone lines. They entertain us through streaming music and movies. They are our currency, coupon and ticket. They even help us meet people and build relationships through social networks and dating apps (swipe right!).

With BYOD initiatives and virtual desktops, our smartphones are even becoming work devices – where we send professional communications, read work documents and conduct our day-to-day business at any time and from anywhere.

And we know this isn’t changing in the near future. Why? Because the market tells us so.

Just look at the insane ecosystem of applications in development and getting funding for all major mobile devices. Or, look at the sheer volume of wearables and other devices being introduced that connect to our smartphones. Heck, the incredible popularity of the Pebble Time smartwatch was just inaccurately blamed for temporarily breaking Kickstarter.

So what does this all mean?

The smartphone is constantly on our person. It’s perpetually looked at as we wait for elevators, stand on escalators and try to avoid awkward eye contact with other humans. It’s part of our story. It’s ingrained in almost everything we do.

We can take advantage of that – as well as the incredible, innovative technology in these devices – to do some pretty amazing things.

Take security and authentication, for example. Our smartphones, by nature, have the ability to perform four-factor authentication. They can authenticate via knowledge, inherence, possession and location. And, unlike a bank card, key fob or other authentication device, we won’t leave the house without them.

By utilizing smartphones, we can implement a natural authentication process using a device that is already part of a person’s everyday life. This process can be simple, hassle-free and require very few steps. This is important because, as we’ve discussed in a previous post, one of the essential elements in effective security and authentication is ease of use.

In future posts on Access Granted, the editorial team will take a deeper dive into the role that smartphones can play in security and authentication. We will also look at the different security and usability benefits that the technologies inside these devices – and the authentication processes that involve them – enable.

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