Digital ID’s ripple effect could become a wave for startups

Jason Stevens

Australia’s newest digital identity service may give startups a more straightforward path to onboard customers faster, combining the strengths of both the private and public sectors. 

The digital exchange or “trust network”, ConnectID, could offer innovators seamless integration into the expanding digital landscape, tapping into a potential 3 per cent GDP uplift and catering to ever-growing consumer demand for secure, streamlined online experiences. 

“ConnectID has some exciting features that allow end users to control how they share their data and what it’s used for,” said Steve Dillon, head of APAC architecture for Ping Identity, one of the world’s largest providers of identity services and solutions that is helping Australian companies take advantage of emerging digital exchanges. 

Mr Dillon joined editorial director James Riley and Andrew Black, managing director of ConnectID, on the final episode in the Identity Matters: Digital Identity and the Evolution of the Internet vodcast series, to discuss the ConnectID platform — now live with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank. 

“Helping them onboard and acquire new customers quickly with a good experience while reducing the amount of data they have to capture is good for their risk profile and risk appetite,” Mr Black said. 

Given the scale of the global digital economy, even a fraction of the potential 3 per cent GDP uplift represents significant value.  

And with Australia being a mature economy, the ripple effects of startups embracing digital ID platforms could be transformative. 

Ping Identity helps both startups and industry titans build up a secure identity layer and data consent management: “Where it gets complicated for a lot of enterprises is in the ability to mediate consent across legacy infrastructure, different org units and all of those really complex IT and people problems,” explained Mr Dillon. 

The exchange creates a reusable digital ID to reduce compliance overheads and spur a new way of delivering third-party services and services through private sector companies. 

“One of the really great things that ConnectID has done is make the barrier to entry for this as low as possible,” Mr Dillon said. 

He noted that the developer SDK tools enable startups to swiftly integrate customers into their private ecosystem.  

“One of my roles at Ping Identity locally in APAC is to ensure that we are doing a good job aligning with regional-specific initiatives,” he said. “And that will be things like Connect ID and helping our customers work within the ecosystem as well as things like consumer data.”

In addition to streamlining customer onboarding, startups can benefit from using the exchange as it reduces the need for large-scale investments and simplifies the complexities of data capture. 

According to Mr Black, there’s a pressing need to establish a seamless digital identity system in an interconnected digital economy.  

As the first digital identity exchange from the private sector to receive Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) accreditation, ConnectID aims to bridge the divide between the public and private sectors.  

The decision of leading banks to adopt the platform, despite its legislative framework still being in draft mode, underscores a strategic anticipation of the future of digital identity in Australia.  

Banks have typically been at the forefront of leveraging technology to enhance customer experience and security, and their early move with Mr Black’s exchange arguably confirms this.  

Mr Dillon emphasised the role of solutions like those from Ping Identity, alongside platforms such as ConnectID, in driving the advancement of digital ID in Australia.  

He noted that these technologies are pivotal in extending trust within a verified entity network. “The goal,” he said, “is to create new digital experiences that improve lives by eliminating the need to repeatedly share the same data.”  

Drawing inspiration from global models, Mr Black points out that “in the Nordics, things like bank ID allow the average citizen to use the service over 200 times a year for authentication across various sectors.”  

(L-R) Ping Identity head of APAC architecture Steve Dillon, ConnectID managing director Andrew Black and editorial director James Riley Steve Dillon, head of APAC architecture for

This gives startups and traditional businesses a significant advantage, streamlining a core element of their operations. 

“This framework benefits large enterprises and acts as a catalyst for smaller entities, amplifying efficiency and user experience.”  

ConnectID allows customers to use Commonwealth Bank or NAB to log in or verify a new service. This removes the need to take photos of passports or documents and manually enter information going forward. 

Furthermore, the partnership with prominent banks reinforces the reliability and trustworthiness of the platform.  

For many Australians, their relationship with their bank is among their longest-standing and most trusted. Translating that trust into a digital platform can ease many concerns associated with new technologies. 

“We’re supported by all four major banking partners, and we expect that to also extend across other private sector services,” said Mr Black. 

He underscores the pressing need to minimise the sharing of personal information. 

“With the unfortunate rise in data breaches in Australia,” he said, “our primary goal is to reduce the amount of shared and collected data.” 

Mr Black envisions a system where customer experience meets security.  

“Imagine accessing the bank app and instantly seeing a transparent list of only the essential information needed by a real estate agent and then giving express consent,” he said. 

Upcoming legislation, he continued, will promote interoperability, simplifying sign-ups and strengthening digital identity frameworks after years of consultation. 

Mr Dillon added, “I think ConnectID is the most interesting thing happening in the identity space in Australia at the moment”.

“And globally speaking, that’s probably the most exciting trend for the next 12 months we see at Ping Identity.”

The Identity Matters: Digital Identity and the Evolution of the Internet podcast series and accompanying articles are produced by in partnership with Ping Identity. 

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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