Conference Extracurriculars


Digital ID World is on my list of favorite conferences this year.  I think Phil, Andre and Crew did a great job of putting together a forum that is entertaining, informative, and most importantly, a great place to meet and talk.  I spent the afternoon looking in on the vendor exhibit hall and talking to people.  Here's some of what I saw and heard:

  • I talked to Andre Durand (of Jabber fame) about PingID.   PingID has aspirations of being the Visa of the identity world.  Someone needs to do it.  He also envisions services (such as risk scoring) that I think are analogous to the kinds of things FirstData Corp. does in the financial services world. 
  • I talked to John Maffei from Microsoft about Passport.  I've avoided signing up for passport myself (even going so far as to refuse to activate the eBook reader on my iPAQ because it required a Passport account).  Still, as I've blogged before, Passport, AOL screenname, and the like represent real ways for utah.gov to connect to some citizens. 
  • I stole a t-shirt and packet from ePresence.  Still not sure what they do.  :-)
  • I saw a great demo of an enterprise level IM tool from Communicator, Inc.  As I've blogged before, I think IM could be an important tool in the enterprise---I use AOL IM at work all the time---but I would like to see a secure solution that connects to the Utah Master Directory. 
  • I talked to Brian Armstrong of OneName about their product.  Still can't say I really get it---lives somewhere above authorization services---but its based on XNS which sounds like something I need to spend some time on. 
  • I got a tech-talk from the Netegrity folks about SiteMinder and how it works.  We use it at the state and I now feel like I'm in a better position to make decisions about how and where we use it. 
  • Alex Tosheff from St. Paul Venture Capital is a guy I met at lunch.  Great guy---I got some good ideas on home based computing infrastructure from him.  He introduced me to Jothy Rosenberg of GeoTrust.    Jothy and I hit it off on several levels.  First, his company offers a way to sign things with digital signatures without the user ever having to know about the digital signatures.   Reminds me a little of NxLight, a Utah company.  He showed me a demo of their tool which uses personal information gleaned from drivers records and credit records to ask the user questions as a way of establishing identity so that they can issue a one-time use digital signature.  Pretty cool.  On another level, he's also a former Computer Science professor turned business person.  We talked a lot about academics, how business experience could inform our future roles as academicians, and how theory is important for CS students. 

The best part of the conference is often the stuff that happens outside the conference hall and this was no exception.  The Digital ID World folks did a good job on the more social part of the conference and seemed to recognize this as an important feature.  I'm grateful for a fulfilling experience.