Digital Identity for Improved Security and Experiences

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Smart cities promise improved traffic, cleaner and more efficient waste management and greater public safety. As devices become smarter and more connected, human engagement with technology becomes more efficient and our lives arguably improve. But technology could go a step further toward efficiency and connect humans to the devices they interact with.

What is Digital Identity?

Digital identity is how an individual proves who they are online. In the simplest form, this is achieved with a username and password. This method of authorization is flawed as a password can be easily lost, stolen or hacked. But a new generation of digital identity that is more efficient and secure is on the horizon.

Security Applications & Concerns

Biometrics identify an individual through unique physical attributes, like a fingerprint, iris or voice pattern. These attributes are much harder to compromise than passwords. A combination of biometrics and digital identity is used in facial scans linked to passport information that allow faster passage through airport security.

One biometrics concern is who controls such personal data? Biometrics combined with blockchain stores data on encrypted and decentralized networks, keeping it in the control of individuals rather than third parties. Individual identification data is collected in a digital “wallet.” The individual authorizes their information to be shared when performing transactions with a business or organization. Approved parties are granted a temporary key to view the information but must first verify their information as well, protecting the consumer from fraud.

Fast-Pay Society

Digital Identity enables a fast-pay society. Individuals won’t have to stop at kiosks to pay for parking: sensors will scan for personal identification and automatically extract payment. The same goes for grocery stores, shopping malls and public transportation.

Transactions that require an individual to prove who they are, like opening a bank account or completing a mortgage application, will be faster and more efficient. Medical records will be held by individuals and easily authorized for access by medical professionals. Smart cars will detect who entered the vehicle and activate temperature and seat position preferences as well as disable driving controls for children. Retail stores will offer tailored sales and advertisements for specific individuals. And restaurants will log a customer’s favorite meals, seating and dining times.

Future of Digital Identity

The COVID-19 pandemic and widespread social distancing have highlighted the need for digital identity as a contactless method of payment and transactions. Canada has seen a surge of digital identity platform use during lockdown. Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark already had digital identity in use for most of their citizens before the pandemic. Brazil is taking steps toward full digital identity integration.

The digital identity solutions market is expected to grow to $33 billion by 2025.