It’s been a long time coming, but proximity controls are about to enter the mainstream of technology, thanks to Apple. Apple Pay and Apple Watch will be used to make payments at retail stores without the need to open a wallet or purse, fumble around to get a credit card, wait for the swipe and transaction to complete, and then put everything back.
Wave iPhone or Apple Watch over a scanner and the transaction is done; safely, securely, quickly, and someday soon; maybe.
Here’s a good example of proximity controls Mac users can enjoy now. It’s a free app called Sesame that locks your Mac when you walk away.
Sesame is a Bluetooth device, much like a thumb drive or key fob, which links to your Mac. Walk away with the Sesame device and your Mac, through the free Sesame app, gets locked down. The idea and implementation are sound, but there’s a price for the device and that is likely to limit appeal. After all, both iPhones and Android smartphones can do much the same thing with a third party app for far less money.
But if you don’t use an iPhone or Android phone, Sesame offers another layer of security. You can adjust proximity sensitivity to lock the Mac as you and the Sesame device walk away, as well as set a time period. It also comes with a nice feature which will mute and pause iTunes when the screen is locked, then resume iTunes at the same volume when you return.
For yet another layer of security, Sesame provides a two-factor authentication option which requires a password and the Sesame key fob. The key fob weighs next to nothing, uses Bluetooth LE (low energy) so the batter can go for a long time, and it won’t put a drain on your Mac’s battery.
I can see the need for a device in an office setting where an employee steps away from a Mac frequently and needs an automated method to ensure privacy and security, but there are some issues.
Sesame doesn’t work on most Macs beyond 2011 (MacBook Air and a Mac mini model are an exception). It an extra device to buy, manage, and maintain. Because it’s not smartphone based it will have limited appeal to the masses, but it is indicative of the need for proximity controls on our devices so they can communicate with one another automatically.