For some critics – and, let’s be honest – vendors of Identity solutions, last month’s announcement that the government had set an 18-month deadline after which it would cease to financially invest in its chosen ID solution, GOV.UK Verify, signalled the potential premature end of national efforts to make it easier in the 21st century to access services via secure personal and portable means.
But at the end of yesterday’s busy Think Digital Identity for Government 2018 – the only event in the sector that covers the interests of the NHS, local and central government – delegates who’d seen major stakeholders from major government departments including the Cabinet Office, DCMS, DWP and HMRC, as well as NHS Digital and DVLA, as well as vendors with international track record in delivering real, working Digital ID solutions to government, the verdict is undeniable:
GOV.UK Verify will continue to matter – but it’s time to expand the market and find new ways to engage with the citizen.
That was one of the themes of independent tech analyst Gary Barnett, Chief Analyst Technology Thematic Research at GlobalData, whose no-holds-barred presentation centred on the reminder that, “Just how inconvenient is it for me to have multiple log-ins in this day and age – it does seem very weird.”
And “in 18 months, Verify will be self-funding and no longer in need of investment” added the Cabinet Office’s Identity Advisor Julian White.
“Digital ID [will be a success] when people see that it’s something that will make what they need and want to do easier.”
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Many speakers expressed gratitude for the start Verify had made in interesting the UK population with the potential of secure access, even as they acknowledged that we still need to go aways to hit the kind of critical mass most observers feel is necessary to make Identity truly mainstream.
Many now see a need to attract the interests of other stakeholders in society – especially in the business world: “GDS and the Cabinet Office for attempting to broaden the Digital ID debate into a cross-channel debate about access not just for the citizen, but the employee and the business too,” pointed out GDS’s Digital Identity Advisor, Alastair Treharne.
“Identity hasn’t hit the boardroom yet, but I think cybersecurity is the thing that will change that,” added Harry Weber-Brown, Digital Innovation Director at TISA.
Over the next week we will be adding more analysis and reports about the many fascinating conversations Think Digital Identity for Government 2018 saw – watch this space!