Digital Identity Series - What Does It Take for Technology to Thrive?

The world particularly in these unusual times talks all about remote work and jokes about how the coronavirus is actually their digital transformation trigger. In fact, McKinsey writes that about 70 percent of executives from Austria, Germany and Switzerland state, that the current crisis is accelerating their quest for digital transformation.

In fact we’ve seen a huge spike in subscription numbers and interest in videotelephony, e-commerce, online entertainment or remote learning tools. People, even though isolated, still need to work, they are longing for distraction and don’t want to run out of their favourite coffee (that’s me). We’re asking for the same things, but we’re looking for new ways to get our work done, to laugh a little every day or to share frustration with our colleagues.

What’s interesting about all these solutions that have seen growth in revenue or even just in popularity in the past weeks, is that they have been around for a long time. Working from home and attending webinars was possible before horrific corona broke upon us but embracing these opportunities needed a crisis of this massive scale.

That tells us quite a bit about the importance of habits and culture for the adoption of new technology during „normal“ times. It tells us that we need to have supportive environments for how we think change and the technology that facilitates it. It’s the same with our sophisticated technologies SplitKey Digital Identity and the Unified eXchange Platform (UXP). They need to be embedded in supportive and educated environments to reach their full potential.

SplitKey is the next generation digital ID technology, that turns end-user mobile devices into secure authentication devices, equipping online service providers with a reliable and secure end user access management tool. The platform also enables end-users to digitally sign documents in accordance with European Union regulation (eIDAS directive).

UXP enables peer-to-peer data exchange over encrypted and mutually authenticated channels. It is based on a decentralised architecture where each peer has an information system that will be connected with other peers’ systems.

From our experiences with exporting UXP around the world, we know that the technology thrives, when our client takes ownership of the technology and provides guidance for its local users. It’s fantastic to see what our technology already is capable of doing in Ukraine, where it’s known as Trembita and is managed by the State Agency for e-Governance. The project consortium has managed to spread the word about the novel data exchange layer and as of January 16th 47 government agencies have signed agreements to join Trembita and over 300.000 secure transactions have already been carried out. The more active the local project owner and the better the technology is embedded in a wider strategy, the more value it will add.

In addition you could argue, that UXP actually comes with a set of values. We’re developing this technology because we strongly believe in security, transparency, reliability and non-repudiation. It’s fantastic to see that the exported technology is also being used for services, that pay respect to these values. Again, Trembita is a great example, as the Ukrainian National Agency of Corruption Prevention (NACC) is using the data exchange layer for obtaining data from the Unified Power of Attorney, the Hereditary Register and the State Register of Civil Status Acts. It does so transparently as data transactions are always logged and timestamped, which provides evidentiary value to every single transaction issued by the NACC.

Trembita shows very well that there’s a clear vision attached to it: making public sector service provision and administration more transparent, reliable and accountable. Something that I suspect many can relate to. Its implementation speaks of the awareness of the wider societal implications of data exchange technology.

If the societal context of technology implementation sparks your interest I’d recommend you to take a look at what my colleague Max van de Poll wrote about creating the right environment for a digital identity. These recommendations are also a key factor for data exchange technology.

Finally the environment obviously needs to consider the end-users of the technology and the processes it facilitates. Just recently the citizen portal that we built for the Office of the President of Benin went online. Via its backend it’s linked to UXP, that we deployed there as a nation-wide data exchange layer. Now a citizen only needs to go to the portal once to get certain personal information, such as a pension statement or to request a building permit. Even though the information and decision are handled by different jurisdictions, the data exchange layer connects them and allows for easy and streamlined access for the end-customer e.g. the citizen. No more hassle of running from one office to another!

When looking for new technology it boils down to the awareness about what issues actually need to be solved with it and what kind of change is supposed to happen. That brings us back to culture and habits. Either it’s a crisis that pushes us into hasty adoption of new technology, that brings its own challenges along, or a constant openness and flexibility in how we do our business allow us to make educated choices about new technology. The more educated we are about our challenges and the technology to solve them, the better we’ll be at creating a supportive environment for the technology to thrive.

If you want to know more about what it takes to make SplitKey and UXP to thrive, feel free to reach out to us and read our previous posts on the digital identity series. We’re there for you!

Written by Tobias Koch