Why is nobody talking much about Sound based authentication while its so widely used?

In 2014 Google Inc acquired an Israeli startup called Slick Login, a company that developed a sound-based authentication platform. Now Google is using the same technology in multiple products like Google Pay (Formerly called Tez ), Chromecast etc. This sound-based authentication seems much more advanced than the widely used technologies now(like RFID, NFC or QR Code).

I happen to come across Chirp.io, a UK based company that provides sound-based authentication platform that can be used to develop Android, iOS and web-based applications. Then I realised that there are several entrepreneurs & companies who have been implementing similar kind of authentication technologies. Even though these technologies are widely used in popular apps and services, they have received very less attention.

After a little bit of digging I figured out a Beijing based company called Feitian Technologies Co Ltd have patented a similar technology in 2013 in the US. http://patents.com/us-9343070.html

Source : patents.com

Meanwhile here is a git repository that lists multiple apps and services using sound-based authentication aka Audio QR —


Why sound-based is so unique?

The sound-based authentication just works with a microphone on the receiver end and a speaker at the transmitter end.

It doesn’t need any kind of additional hardware support to function.
All the new generation gadgets and devices comes inbuilt with microphones and speakers which is added advantage of this technology. Thus most of the daily carrier electronic devices / gadgets does not require any upgrade.

  • No need to be in line of sight.
  • Easy to implement.
  • Dynamically generated, thus more secure.
  • Works in near proximity.
  • No additional hardware required.
  • Works on almost all daily carrier devices / gadgets.
  • Broadcasting data to multiple devices is very easy.

Use Cases

Here are some of the best use cases of sound-based authentication —

Device Pairing
IoT devices can be paired easily using the sound as Google does the same with Google Chromecast to pair with a phone.

Two-factor authentication
Sound-based authentication works like charm when it comes to two-factor authentication like in the video below.

Security Access 
Its a very good replacement for the security RFID / NFC access cards inside office premises.

Proximity Marketing
Advertising industry can utilise it very well by increasing the customers who can engage with interactive ads. (Not sure somebody is already using it)

Payment Services
The payment services like FreeCharge uses sound based scanning methods to get the merchant id instead of QR Codes which gives a better user experience.

Sound-based authentication or Audio QR is more secure than most of the existing technologies.
Dynamically generated ultrasonic (inaudible) sound waves can be way more secure and affordable than passive RFIDs or NFC tags that can be easily replicated.

I see a future with more apps & services relying on sound-based authentication.

P.S - Please ignore the typos and grammatical errors.