A friend tells you to download a cool new social media application. You head to the app or play store and eagerly search for this new discovery. Once it has fully downloaded and installed, you launch the application and are introduced to a new mobile experience. But wait, before you can take your app to the next level you are met with a register or login screen. This is where things get tricky. You have the option to either register a new account (adding to an already long list of usernames and passwords you need to remember) or you can sign in with Facebook. While this may not be a new experience for internet and social media users, it doesn’t pass through our minds without question. Is there an easier way? Wasn’t the internet supposed to get rid of this discontinuity? Anyone, Anyone,……….Bueller? Is a streamlined experience across multiple devices feasible? As we move forward these question are at the forefront of this idea. Let us see what the pros and cons of this thinking could be:
Not having to log into every new site you join or needing any user identity, consumers are allowed to access your product much quicker and make the experience more engaging. A couple years ago some video games started doing something very interesting. Removing the Heads Up display (HUD). First person shooters and adventure games this would usually display health, ammunition, and supplies. Then developers started limiting or removing these layouts altogether. Instead of removing yourself from the action to check your health or current weapons you could simply receive sensory input from color changes or the character model’s details. If there was a way that this integration and immersion could be transferred to the mobile platform it would greatly increase the user experience. If each mobile device had a certain cache of data that it was allowed to access the initial login could be done as the app starts up. This basic information could in include first and last name as well as an email address. Then if further identification is needed in the instance of making a payment, users could include extra information upon request. These changes could be time-saving and participation boosting. Never go through registration steps again!
Obviously one of the main concerns that would come from this change would be the security. At the core of these systems, there are guidelines which designate what a BYOD (bring your own Device) user can do and what it has access to. Typically if a specific user tries to access resources that are not available to them the information is logged and an alarm is set off alerting site admins. This change in website access policies could change the security status quo and undermine the system. Standard defensive measure will not work and new security would need to be put in place to protect users and business owners alike. Lackluster security could lead to someone having access to all devices connected to that network and any other network they could connect with. This could be crippling and worse than Watergate and the celebrity nude photo leak fiasco combined. If we are to move into this type of access we need to start thinking of different contingencies and defenses now to be prepared for any number of issues we could come across in the future. Businesses will have figure out if the information a user has access to would allow for an open environment. For instance, a Pinterest account doesn’t need a lot of securities. Could someone access it and change your board for summer recipes? Sure, but that could happen anyway. Now your chase mobile banking or your Amazon account is a different story. Nobody welcomes a check they can’t cash or a charge they didn’t make.
Creating a seamless integration experience for the customer is an exciting idea. It could create an immersive environment for the user and take away the hassles of usernames and passwords. As great as this sounds we can’t forget about the potential risks. The users and businesses behind these products will have to be more cognizant of their information and what they are sharing. Although if the products and websites we use can become more aware of each other through Machine to Machine technology (M2M) it could open up a huge realm of possibility. Mobile App Developers will be the architects of this new interconnected world.