SK Telecom, the premier South Korean wireless carrier, has created a system meant to use a smartwatch to provide identity verification in order to access secure applications such as banking. While this would be somewhat convenient in a place like the United States or the United Kingdom, where banking apps normally use security similar to most other apps out there, this system could prove to be a major time saver in Korea, where accessing your bank requires a special randomized key from your bank or a special USB drive, as well as secure identification. South Korea Telecom's system, in essence, proposes to allow customers to simply tap on their registered smartwatch to access their banking system online.
While this technology may not end up spreading outside of Korea anytime soon, due to somewhat negligible need for it in other markets, it is likely to find plenty of usefulness in its home country. The system is currently not available on a wide basis, and is being provided to banks, webmasters, and developers for testing at the moment. On the user end, the system promises to be fairly simple once it rolls out; a user registers a smartwatch with their financial institution, then simply uses it in conjunction with any digital banking portals to authorize access. Once a smartwatch is registered, which will presumably involve some sort of verification, a user can simply give it a tap while running the correct software in order to authorize a login. If the smartwatch is lost, the user can issue a kill switch command to nullify the functionality, preventing smartwatch thieves from becoming identity thieves. All data transmitted over the system is subject to powerful encryption on both ends.
For the time being, it has not been stated whether this system will be limited to SK Telecom subscribers, what models of smartwatch would be compatible, or even what financial institutions are currently on board for testing and in what capacity. Needless to say, a public release date is not on the table right now. The system has a number of different possibly ways that it could pair up and identify users' smartwatches, but most details aside from the fact that a smartwatch will be used have simply not come out yet.