Maurice Audinet, Head of Digital Transformation, Jurlique Hong Kong Limited

Are you still using any physical business card?

I recently stopped as not only I want to show my co-workers the way of digitalisation but also, I think it’s a civic act to reduce waste of such an ephemeral item.

I now prefer to show a QR code from my phone (screen or cover) to be scanned and share the connection. Most of the times, my interlocutors who shared their own, are caught by surprise and valued the idea.

While discontinuing the former ceremonial, the act of scanning seems to break the code of sharing an item that is unique and personal. As a “digital evangelist”, I feel nevertheless that I share one of the most important belongings: my personal data.

Our mobile phone is our most accurate ID card

Currently, my smartphone is storing so many information about me; as a consumer (online stores, virtual membership, passwords, means of payment, bank account, etc.) but also more and more as a citizen and “social individual” (transportation card, healthcare, easy money transfer…). Cloud and biometrics technologies are helping to centralize all information and make it look safe enough.

Therefore, my phone, and I assume I’m not the only one, became not only my business card, my wallet, my bank, and supermarket but also a unique passport that I’m continuously tailoring.

With the advent of 5G, connected devices and biometrics technologies being more and more reliable, we may observe the rise of Passport of Things, an era where your phone stores personal data and becomes the most reliable item to identify you.

Why is it not yet fully implemented?

 As you may expect, a full implementation is still facing some fundamental issues.

IoT, for instance, is not yet standardized, and make devices to interact or share information with each other, is a constant challenge.

On the other hand, while normalized, 5G is under different macroeconomics pressures and its setup even among the most advanced countries remains a challenge.

Finally, local regulation, compliance, and specific arrangement between governments around data privacy and its storage make it almost impossible for any technology company to setup a global system.

So, is it just another digital fantasy?

Realistically, the process is on the march. Few countries including Singapore, Canada, and Australia are trying to create a “National Digital Identity” while others are digitalizing their local services, centralizing more and more data about citizens, creating a unified portal and we’re not far that some governments know everything about their individuals.

Devices and communication technologies such as RFID or NFC are now proven enough to be used in physical passports. 5G is still ramping up while becoming a clear indicator of digital opportunities.

Blockchain might be the missing link to the equation; it should support the security and authenticity of our digitalized ID. Indeed, most important and confidential data once encrypted should be easily verified by various authorities, once they align on what can be shared.

It is just a matter of time that we will observe digitalized ID and passport that can be used within a specific region of the world before going global. The only hiccup might be again to forget our device or to charge it prior to use it

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