Every day, billions of interactions track the identity of people, entities, and things. However, the way we create, manage, and use identities on- and offline hasn’t kept pace with the speed of the connected world. Realizing this, big tech companies, financial institutions, and governments are focusing on the next generation of digital identity technology as a necessity for continued growth and security.
But the question remains: what is digital identity?
The OWI team hit the proverbial streets this summer and asked over 100 previous KNOW Identity speakers to define digital identity and to list the key challenges their organizations are facing and what they believe the solutions might be.
Many companies say digital identity is the ability to prove we are who we say we are online. For others, it’s the ability to authenticate internal and external customers seamlessly and securely. Most companies are inherently concerned with the potential threat bad actors may inflict upon their business. Some companies will describe using data intelligently to deliver tailored services and to build trust -- or in some instances, to restore confidence.
Digital identity is a linchpin of digital transformation, building trust online, and doing business now and in the future. It’s also inherently complex; it’s at the core of who we are as people and serves as a vehicle for our interactions with the digital world.
The Pillars of Digital Identity
Digital identity sits at the nexus of three core pillars of digital transformation: payments and eCommerce, marketing, and cybersecurity. At the intersection of each pillar lies critical functions required for organizational success -- user experience, risk & compliance, and trust & safety. Each function not encapsulated by a specific pillar poses a significant challenge to the pillar’s teams (e.g., user experience poses a significant challenge for cybersecurity, compliance for marketing, and trust & safety for eCommerce).
Many of us have been on this digital identity journey for a while, yet, we are still in the very early days of identity systems as a paradigm shift. Organizations are on their own digital transformation journeys. Some industries, that are further along, recognize identity as critical infrastructure to their business model. On-demand services companies like Uber and Airbnb now rely on digital identity to exist.
The fundamental business model of the sharing economy, gig economy, and peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace is predicated upon building trust in an otherwise trust-free environment. Traditional financial services providers, too, are transitioning quickly to adopt digital identity schemes, as open banking and fintech challengers emerge. Today, media companies like Twitter and Facebook are gracing the headlines with the integrity of their platforms and their effectiveness in preventing the spread of fake news. All these examples show that, regardless of industry, the adoption of next-generation digital identity solutions will be requisite for remaining competitive within the next decade.
Why We Built the KNOW Identity Conference
Because of cultural shifts, political stewardship, and organizational alignment, we’re watching the data economy rules get written. This makes digital identity is a rapidly evolving space, not because of the underpinning technologies’ complexity, but because of the personal and social implications the digital identity encompasses.
That’s why we built the KNOW Identity Conference -- to take a hard look at the array of technologies, tools, and processes that underscore identity and trust in the digital age and to work to make them better.
Since launching the first KNOW Identity Conference in 2017, OWI research has seen the digital identity startup community grow over 4x from roughly 500 companies to over 2,500 globally, resulting in $1.5B+ in investment and $4.5B+ in strategic M&A activity. Outside of CEOs, which make up over 25% of our attendees year over year, our core constituency has evolved from Chief Compliance Officers and regulators to a diverse set of stakeholders, including leaders in risk, information security, privacy, marketing, partnerships, and business development.
The 5 Core Trends Driving the Digital Identity Transformation
Capturing trends, assessing critical business challenges, and defining dialogue in a rapidly evolving space for so many new stakeholders is not an easy task. Leading up to KNOW Identity 2020, OWI has identified the following five core drivers for digital identity transformation in 2020.
- Data protection and privacy regulations are forcing enterprises to rethink everything from internal identity management to cookies tracking.
- More governments are beginning to roll out national digital identity programs, reducing the dependency on physical documents and improving citizen access to services.
- Mobile device penetration rates continue to increase globally, and new fraud vectors emerge as we increase our reliance on third-party online platforms for online-to-offline interactions.
- Open banking has redefined and expanded the role of financial institutions as trusted data stewards.
- The patient healthcare data has undergone exponential growth, and its application to personalized medicine has outpaced the development of ethical and regulatory frameworks.
KNOW Identity 2020 Programming Tracks
Staying true to our founding principles, we develop programming that is inclusive of the entire community working to solve digital identity challenges. In order to fully capture this diversity, we are pleased to announce eleven KNOW Identity 2020 programming tracks focused on the core challenges facing business executives staring at the massive disruption threatening the long-term prospects of their business in 2020 and beyond.
Onboarding the next billion users:
Solving for digital identity at scale remains a core challenge for both nimble startups and incumbent players alike. Explore the technological and ethical considerations required to onboard the next billion users and the operational obstacles this creates.
Deepfakes, AI, and future tech that is breaking your defenses:
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the release of nation-state caliber cyber weapons to the public have redefined the fraud and cybersecurity landscape. What are the latest fraud techniques and corresponding countermeasures, where does deepfake technology create new ethical boundaries, and how are regulators adapting?
- Digital identity platforms and enablers:
Players across financial services, big tech, and telecommunications are racing to bring digital identity ecosystems to market, is your business ready? From identity providers and relying parties to technology enablers, join the conversation shaping the identity ecosystems poised to have an impact far beyond 2020.
- Trust and safety at scale:
Managing risk is evolving beyond regulatory compliance and fraud mitigation. Today, establishing trust is fundamental to maintaining customer relationships. How is alternative data shaping this new landscape, what does it take to build a world-class trust & safety team, and are regulators poised to step into the vacuum?
- Surveillance economy and data privacy:
Data privacy is the battleground on which the next digital identity war is being fought. Are privacy and security mutually exclusive? Will user-centric data models hamper identity inclusion and handicap the development of revolutionary new products? Join the conversation set to shape the next 20 years of digital identity products.
- The future of PII in healthcare:
The exponential growth of patient healthcare data and its application to personalized medicine has outpaced the development of ethical and regulatory frameworks. How can we preserve patient privacy while ensuring the highest standards of care and continuing to foster innovative new treatments?
- Closing gaps in inclusion:
With financial inclusion as a key priority across developed and developing markets alike, exactly how to achieve inclusion at scale remains a subject of debate. What roles do policy and technology have in closing the gap, and is a higher risk of fraud a necessary tradeoff?
- A world without cookies:
Global regulators, shifting consumer attitudes towards privacy, and advances in "do not track" browser technology are pushing the cookie as we know it towards extinction. Are GDPR and CCPA just the beginning, and will the consumer experience suffer as a result?
- The new economics of identity:
Long considered a cost center, identity has emerged as a core engine for economic growth as next-generation ecosystems unlock the potential of new identity business models. Explore technology's impact on identity's core economic models, the effects of new regulations, and how investors are taking advantage.
- From open banking to open everything:
Open APIs are redefining what it means to be a financial institution. What lessons can we learn from the approaches taken to open banking in markets across the globe, and how might they be applied to digital identity?
- Future of IAM:
Whether bringing current systems up to industry standard, or boldly going where no enterprise has gone before, identity and access management is where the rubber meets the road with regard to digital identity. Understand the technologies tasked with implementing the next generation of digital identity ecosystems.
Each track includes a panel on culture, policy, and technology, as well as a practical workshop. These tracks tie back to the three core pillars of the digital transformation: payments and eCommerce, marketing, and cybersecurity and are designed to break down identity silos. Solving digital identity issues requires stepping back to look at the big picture, from engineering architecture to user experience, and that’s the perspective we aim to offer.
Check back as we continue to announce our esteemed speakers, sponsors, and exciting conference updates. We’re looking forward to KNOW Identity 2020, where we can dive deep into these topics and work to make identity better for everyone.