Deploying Discipline Before Technology

Last Tuesday, July 23, 2013, I briefed the MIT Communications Futures Program on OIXnet in Cambridge, MA.  The MIT CFP’s vision is to define the roadmap for communications and its impact on adjacent industries.  CFP is a new partnership between MIT and leading industry organizations across the entire communications value chain.  Trust frameworks have become a recent focus of the MIT program. This presentation, like others, deliberately sought critical feedback from an informed and engaged communities of interest.  We are deliberately seeking evidence that disconfirms our working hypothesis: that OIXnet can deliver material benefits to member companies by reducing costs and mitigating risks. Presentations at the CIS, MIT and other venues are part of OIXnet’s due diligence. They also help in filling a pipeline of prospective prototype participants and increasing the quantity, quality and diversity of input to the OIXnet Working Group.

OIXnet seeks to centralize trusted identity metadata to facilitate interoperability among identity federations in commercial, non-profit, and public sectors. As an authoritative registry for online identity metadata, OIXnet design principles start with a notion of a metadata listing service and a dynamic API discovery registry.  When OIXnet is launched, it may incorporate other identity trust registries and become a “registry of registries” platform.

The OIXnet concept was well received by the MIT CFP group.  Feedback from an Italian telecom noted that a registry such as OIXnet aligns with trust frameworks under development at the GSMA.  ESPN, a CFP member, shared a “TV Everywhere” type use-case involving identity for verification and provisioning of subscription access (with the underlying copyright/license) and how it might be used to reveal derivation, source or ownership rights. ESPN suggested a registry such as OIXnet could help address use-cases within the media and entertainment sector.  A “shout out” to the MIT, an OIX member, for hosting the organizational meeting of the OIXnet Working Group that followed.

This week at the Gartner Catalyst Conference, analysts including Ian Glazer pointed out the growing interest in identity federation and directory structures. Ian referenced a new kind of federated signaling, a just-in-time provisioning to get attributes across domain boundaries “by any means necessary”.  A savvy industry analyst, Ian distilled his advice to early adopters:  deploy discipline before technology.

Ian’s words became a “note to self” to apply as much coherence as possible to the OIXnet Working Group’s due diligence efforts.  A disciplined approach serves OIX well as we strive to serve multiple constituencies in the OIXnet prototype phase we envision announcing at the O5 Internet Identity Summit in October.  The OIXnet due diligence and requirements gathering will allow us to continue to engage the MIT CFP group as the OIXnet Working Group and the overall OIX membership evolve the OIXnet concept.  And the positive feedback from leading organizations outside of OIX with an interest in identity federation and trust frameworks will continue to benefit our efforts going forward.