Aug 22, 2018 in Letters from the President by DIACC

Letters from the President: DIACC Amplifying Member Outreach

Connecting global themes with local impact

It has been an exciting year in the digital identity world. From GDPR to blockchain, there has been plenty of activity to spark discussion. Over the past few months, DIACC has attended and presented at digital identity events around the world, from Canada to Germany to New Zealand. At each event, we share the incredible work, values, and cohesion of the DIACC members and shine a spotlight on Canadian leaders in digital ID. In return, we deliver insights to our members, share key learning and development opportunities, and maintain Canada’s connection to the world. Here are some key takeaways from DIACC’s strategic outreach at events, including the KNOW Identity Conference, CIO Health Forum, IdentityNORTH, Blockchain BRC, European Identity Conference, the DIACC Annual General Meeting, and The Point: NZ Payments Conference.

The biggest theme (and one of the most exciting) that came up over and over again was that it is no longer considered optional to solve identity problems. While industry standards setters have been ahead of the curve, recognizing the foundational nature and critical importance of digital ID for some time, other key players have been slower to join the efforts for coordinated action. The growing recognition of digital ID as a critical imperative has resulted in greater focus on R&D that demonstrates the kind of future made possible by digital ID. Identity is shifting from being a nice to have, “ahead of the game” strategy to an essential, “act now” approach. Multiple industries are realizing that solving for identity is essential to keep customers secure and engaged, and to remain competitive as organizations strive to provide the best services.

From an industry perspective, identity management still faces challenges. For years there has been widespread recognition and countless proof points that interoperability is a more reliable, scalable route forward. Despite this admittance, there is still difficulty in securing interoperability around the world and across industries. Significant  investment has gone into the space, and we continue to see more and more entrants join the industry. Growth is steady around the world yet we are still struggling to cross-coordinate efforts at the international scale.

The economic focus and highly collaborative Canadian approach stands out as unique. Canada’s people-first and collaborative strategy is often referenced as an approach to aspire to. The leadership that Canada is demonstrating on a global level has been even more apparent on home soil, with sold out IdentityNORTH events in Montreal and Toronto doubling attendance from previous years, and blockchain events in Vancouver and Toronto attracting a diverse, intergenerational crowd. Seeing Canadians connecting in person and sharing their successes and challenges was a strong reaffirmation of the how important this all is.

While it’s great to have like-minded communities around the world see the value in our approach, more work needs to be done to take a holistic view and solve identity as an ecosystem of peers, partners, and competitors. An ecosystem is necessary in order to secure Canada’s full and beneficial participation in the socioeconomic opportunities the Digital Economy has to offer. An ecosystem of identity solutions and services will help to ensure that every Canadian – from urban centres to rural municipalities – has the opportunity to conveniently access their government services, start an innovative business, and even to invent the next disruptive technology.

Beyond identity for individuals, we need identity for businesses, organizations, and digital relationships to make the system as effective as possible. Identity is included on more and more event agendas but the primary focus remains on personal identity. Little attention is paid to the intersection of how we connect people and businesses. Demonstrating and verifying those relationships will unlock massive potential for transformation. Focusing solely on identity for individuals is like looking at one star in a constellation – it’s an important piece of the puzzle but not the whole picture. To supercharge economic opportunities for all Canadians, identity must be solved to verify people, organizations, and relations with security, privacy, and convenience as paramount principles for success.

Throughout our DIACC outreach efforts, it’s been clear that identity solutions must prioritize inclusive strategies to be worthy of investment here in Canada and around the world. It’s apparent that solving for identity is critical for economic prosperity and, perhaps, even more critical for civic engagement. Strong identification can inform policy makers and build the trust of constituents. Clear examples of identity’s value for civic engagement are evident in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the rise of the notion of “fake” news. Exploring solutions related to building trust in media and information sources, governance systems, and other hot topics will push the digital identity industry to the forefront and create new opportunities to develop meaningful solutions.

DIACC’s Top Outreach Takeaways for Advancing Digital Identity:

  • Collaboration beats a solo effort every time. DIACC’s community prioritizes a mutual value exchange of collaborators – everyone has something to offer and something to gain.
  • Canada must accelerate delivery of Digital Identity and Authentication interoperability standards, leveraging a healthy balance of speed and pragmatism.
  • While cultures and governance vary around the world, many challenges and opportunities remain the same.
  • The world is paying attention to Canada and we have the opportunity to lead the new age of digital identity by solving challenges using Canadian strengths and principles.

As Canada and the DIACC community continue to deliver value to Canadians and gain prominence across the globe, we look forward to extending even more opportunities to our members to share Canada’s digital identity story at home and on the world stage.

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