The deep pool of Canadian talent is not exclusive to a single area code, province, or territory. Coast to coast, Canadians are proving they have big ideas and the skills to turn those ideas into a reality.
For that reason, IdentityNORTH is excited to announce that in 2018 we will be finding ways to engage more Canadians from across the country. In addition to our annual IdentityNORTH 2018 conference in Toronto, we will be hosting events in Montreal, on the East Coast, and on the West Coast.
Bridging the conversation across the country will ensure solutions, knowledge, and the community associated with digital identity truly reflects the dynamic, innovative, and unique populations that make up Canada.
Join Us Across Canada this Year
The original location of our IdentityNORTH events, Toronto is frequently recognized as the Canadian hub for commerce, technology, and innovation. We are happy to return year after year to provide our community with an opportunity to gather in the context of the action-packed city that is constantly evolving across sectors.
The east coast continues to prove that size does not determine influence, especially when it comes to digital government innovation and catalyzing the local tech community. We’re so excited to bring the digital identity conversation to the east coast for our Eastern Forum, where we’ll be able to spotlight and tap into an inspiring local talent and progress in the industry.
After recapping the 5 trends that marked our 2017, we’re looking ahead to 2018 and the leading principles that will guide the conversations and innovation in digital identification and authentication. Advances in digital identity go beyond technology and impact every citizen and industry. With growing interest in authentication and understanding of the essential nature of digital identification, we’re excited to see how these key values will unfold and advance digital identity in the coming year.
It felt like a weekly headline in 2017: Major company experiences data breach. With more personal data being shared and sent than ever before, it’s unsurprising that the number of breaches have also increased. This year, guided by Privacy by Design principles and the hard-won lessons of the past 12 months, we hope to see more organizations adopt a user-centric approach to data collection and storage. By centring privacy, reducing personally identifiable information (PII) collection and duplication, and ultimately putting more power in the hands of consumers, we believe that we can improve user experience and data privacy.
The value of digital identification is fully realized when it can be used seamlessly across platforms, industries, and use cases. Interoperability, rooted in collaboration, is crucial for this advancement to take place. With new technology that has the ability to connect disparate systems and leapfrog full migration processes, a collective, pan-Canadian commitment to interoperability can help us make big strides this coming year. We expect that uptake will grow as more and more organizations recognize the all-around stakeholder value and potential of interoperability.
Private-Public Sector Collaboration
It’s never been more crucial for private and public sectors to cooperate and collaborate. With major innovations in tech and economic forces converging, the public sector needs policies and regulations that can catch up - and remain resilient - in the face of change. Private sector advancements, especially in the digital identification space, require public support to reach their full potential and reduce friction. With more IdentityNORTH gatherings, a growing DIACC, and other committees bringing private and public organizations to the same table, we look forward to seeing these connections forge and flourish this year.
Our growing community needs more opportunities to connect, collaborate, and discuss the ramifications of Canadian-made digital identification solutions. In support of the individuals and organizations pushing digital identification forward in Canada, IdentityNORTH will be hosting events in Montreal, Toronto, and on the East Coast this year. Through more events in different provinces, we hope to involve as many diverse Canadian organizations as possible in the digital ID community. Join us at IdentityNORTH 2018 and follow us to stay up-to-date on digital identity news.
It’s been an incredible year for digital identity. More and more Canadians are beginning to grasp the essential nature and astounding potential of an interoperable and reliable digital identification system for all. Regardless of industry or sector, it’s been inspiring to see how people are joining forces to elevate the conversation on digital identity.
This year we hosted two events that encouraged community innovators and new voices to share insights, bridge gaps, and learn. IdentityNORTH was held in Toronto from June 6-7, and IdentityNORTH Western Forum was hosted in Vancouver from November 7-8. With more than 300 participants throughout the year and support from more than 13 sponsors, the events were an incredible tribute, launchpad, and affirmation of Canadian innovation and collaboration.
5 Digital ID Trends that Ruled 2017
Looking back on 2017, we recognized five trends that were emerging again and again at events and in conversation. These will definitely inform the direction of IdentityNORTH events in 2018. They may also help guide your organization’s goals and individual understanding of how you can prepare for a more secure, interoperable, and effective digital identity strategy in the new year.
These are the top topics in digital identity and authentication this year.
Blockchain finally entered the public consciousness. While the distributed ledger system has been around for 8+ years, it seems like industries and individuals are now equipped with the understanding and foundation to leverage the technology. The possibilities for digital identification across industries seem endless - from real estate to retail and everything in between - and we can’t wait to see which applications take off in the new year.
2. Privacy and Security
It’s no surprise that new technology comes with new vulnerabilities. This past year, data security concerns have been more prominent than ever before. Many companies in our community have viable solutions, but with increased data collection and high profile data breaches in government and business, we need more standards, education, and confidence about how personally identifiable information can be collected and used. While the issues that separate digital identity and security can be delineated, the widespread concerns and implications are closely linked.
The digital identity conversation routinely veers toward finance - whether it is about emerging fintechs or established financial systems. The applicability is easy to recognize and for many other industries, digital identification through the finance sector would provide the necessary foundation for a secure verification system. With biometrics being implemented in ATMs, and financial services relying more on user experience, we’re excited to watch more banks lead the charge and push forward digital identity in 2018.
While blockchain is becoming part of the mass consciousness, biometrics are now part of the mass experience. Smartphones have led to broader understanding and adoption of the technology through fingerprint sensors and facial recognition. These and other biometric technologies are now being used for authentication in ATMs, international travel, and a myriad of other applications. Some unforeseen issues and shortcomings are still being resolved, but it's exciting to see how far this technology has come and how effective it can be for personal identification.
4. (Inter)National ID
Countries around the world are making advancements toward a single national digital identity. Estonia is leading the charge, India is making advances in biometrics, the US is experimenting with drivers licenses, and Australia is exploring opportunities in travel. The focus remains steady on implementing country-wide systems, but strong international cooperation has made distinct industry opportunities for collaboration and exporting solutions. Canada has plenty of room to grow and lead in digital identity at the international level. By identifying our unique strengths and embracing the diverse community that makes Canada unique, we can excel as trailblazers.
Building and Bridging the Canadian Digital Identity Community
A timeless trend since our inception has been community connections and cooperation. Standards that support cross-sector collaboration are essential for fully realized and reliable digital identity solutions to be implemented. IdentityNORTH conference and unconference days help build relationships between experts, novices, and curious participants across Canada. Recognizing the power of the people behind the technologies, concerns, and industries, we believe that it is more important than ever for people to understand the value of digital ID and work together to make it a reality.
To continue building the essential identification systems that underpin Canada’s digital economy, we need a strong community that is equipped with the knowledge and connections to innovate and collaborate. For that reason, in 2018 IdentityNORTH will be coming to more communities across the country. Events in Montreal, Toronto, and the East Coast are being scheduled to invite more voices, perspectives, and progress to the conversation.
Register for IdentityNORTH 2018 now and follow us to stay up-to-date on our other events.
The conversation in digital identification is focussing strongly on one technology: blockchain. While the potential of the distributed ledger seems infinite, few organizations have been able to make concrete moves to transform their processes.
Digital identification and authentication are a natural fit for the encrypted and secure technology, but how can we move the needle for impactful change in Canada?
IdentityNORTH teamed up with the Digital Identification and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) and the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA), as well as the University of British Columbia’s Blockchain and Distributed Research and Education Cluster (Blockchain@UBC) to run a Digital ID Design Challenge (DIDC) designed to answer that question.
The challenge was created to give students and professionals the opportunity to think through concrete use cases and contribute ideas to the digital ID ecosystem. Narrowing in on the real estate industry and public sector challenges with electronically delivered state of title certificates (eSTC), the challenge asked participants to leverage blockchain to remove digital ID friction.
Teams were asked: How can digital ID improve and simplify the process of accessing and distributing eSTCs?
Judgement criteria highlighted the importance of real-world applications for this and other new technologies. Six judgement categories were outlined to ensure the winner’s solution was viable and innovative: context and relevance; economic and social benefit; security and privacy; usability and convenience, feasibility; and creativity and presentation were defined as key areas that would ensure a successful solution.
The submissions were excellent. Fifteen teams from diverse backgrounds and entry points, one as far as China, submitted ideas for review. Two teams were selected as finalists to present at our Western Forum in Vancouver on November 7, 2017.
"Reviewing the submissions was inspiring! They really grounded the potential of digital ID in reality," noted Joni Brennan, President of the DIACC. "We're excited to run more Digital ID Design Challenges to nurture made-in-Canada solutions and keep expanding how we think about and approach digital identification and authentication."
OnePair Technologies, a team of one Noah Bouma, Developer and Business Student at University of Calgary, and Alphabeta, a joint effort between Matthew Gaiser, Computer Engineering Student from Queen’s University, and Mike Brown, Director of Innovation at ATB Financial, were selected as the top teams.
Noah Bouma’s submission was voted the winner for its clear articulation of the problem, well-integrated yet expansive solution, and creative prototyping that crystallized the feasibility of his app-based, standards-driven solution.
Watch his presentation here or check out Bouma’s paper outlining the secure eSTC solution that links emerging tech with longstanding systems and accounts for the intricacies and challenges of an interoperable, easy-to-use digital ID.
As technologies emerge that can solve for many of the problems associated with secure digital identification, it is important to take a thoughtful approach. Collaboration, new ideas, and a broader perspective of interoperability are essential to ensure future digital identity solutions do not replicate past problems. Setting a strong foundation in social, economic, and equitable impact from the outset will ensure cross-sector goals are met and everyone benefits from a fully realized digital ID system.
Thanks to everyone who submitted a solution and attendees at IdentityNORTH Western Forum who helped choose the winning design. We look forward to hearing about more Canadian innovations in blockchain and global strides toward viable digital identification.
What Attendees are saying
“The only conference in Canada where one can meet the who’s who of knowledgeable people and champions of digital identity to discuss the real issues and opportunities in this space.”