Would you use your phone as a personal identification device?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: July 30, 2011

When we look at the way that our phones are evolving, I’ve mentioned in the past that science-fiction has a place in that conversation. Truth be told, it’s a great way to consider just about anything that our phones can do, and with that science-fiction tag, we can really talk about anything. But, it’s great when something that someone may consider to be fiction is actually a reality. It’s one of my favorite parts of the industry. The latest thing to pique my interest is a shopping cart that syncs to an app on your phone, and then the possibilities from there are pretty much endless (when it comes to shopping, anyway). The only bad part? It isn’t happening here in the States, yet.

Last week, SK Telecom unveiled their pet project: a tablet PC-equipped shopping cart. Sure, it may just seem like a great way to distract the little ones that you had to drag to the grocery store with you, but actually it serves a purpose. The idea is to link to an app on your smartphone, which will then tell you everything you wrote down on your grocery list, and even locate the stuff you’re looking for as you go shopping. What’s more, there’s some augmented reality action going on in there, too, offering up some coupon-oriented details as you peruse the offerings.

The tablet incorporated into the shopping cart is cool in of itself, and while it may be the first of its kind, it’s probably not the first time someone thought of it. But the fun starts happening with the app, and the fact that the tablet syncs to it. I think it’s a great idea, and it serves to show that applications still serve a more than obvious place in our everyday lives. However, it got me thinking that there could be so much more done here, and with this idea from SK Telecom, I really hope people out there move on it.

To be specific, a lot of our devices are already aimed to be our personal assistants, so why not expand on that? Looking at a shopping cart that features a tablet device that’s meant to sync to an app, why not just skip the app, and have the cart sync to our phone? I think this is something that a mobile operating system like HP’s webOS is perfectly primed for. With Synergy, the ability to have your phone as your personal device is even more possible. It’s one of the things that Palm, or HP now, made webOS to do, so why not actually use it?

With that in mind, we could expand it and start using our phones as our entire personal identification system, or device. Using our phone as a PID could open quite a few avenues. We know that companies want to make our phones a mobile payment device with NFC, and this seems to me that it would be a natural extension, or even a base for that same idea. We can sync our phones with multiple devices entrenched in a store or a car, and several different means of usage would pop up. Whether that’s via Bluetooth or WiFi, the connection is just a means to get the goods.

Security would be an issue, but of course what you put on the phone or what you would make available for syncing would be completely up to you. Want to just sync your grocery list? Great, that’s an option. Want to make your next shopping experience at the mall based on previous purchases? Sync up your shopping profile right to your phone, and watch as you walk into a shop as displays tell you what exactly you’re looking for, and where to find it.

It’s great when science-fiction isn’t fiction anymore, and we actually get to use the ideas that were considered “future” once. And as our phones get more and more advanced, those ideas are something we’ll get to use, and take advantage of, every day. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Image via Engadget