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.

1. Blockchain
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.

3. Finance
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.

4. Biometrics
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.