Identity Brokers and Business Models


Next week, I'm moderating a discussion at the Berkman Identity Mashup in Boston. Our panel is at 9am on Tuesday if you're coming. The title of the panel is "Interoperability, Open Identity, and Identity Brokers." Here's the description:

Very likely there will be a new industry of identity brokers, identity providers, and relying parties using those digital identities. Will it become subject to power laws and vendor concentration? What forces will play a role in shaping this new industry? The Higgins open source software framework is one emerging implementation for identity systems that allows for interoperability and integration, utilizing open identity protocols. What might its role be in help enable this new industry? What role with other systems play? How might new identity systems be used or abused by governments, corporations and large organizations through National Identity card and GUIDs (Globally Unique Identifiers)?

A few ground rules that I've laid out for the panel is that we'll not use PowerPoint. Each member of the panel will get a few minutes for a non-commercial introduction and then we'll jump into questions. I like to get questions from the audience, but I'll also have some to start. Here's a few I've thought of.

  • What is an identity broker?
  • What are the roles of identity providers (IPs) and relying parties (RPs)?
  • What are the industry forces that are likely to emerge and why?
  • What are the business models?
  • Where are the pain points now that new business might be built around?
  • People are starting to understand CardSpace (formerly InfoCard) as a metasystem for IPs and RPs to talk to each other. How does Higgins fit in?

If you've got other suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.