Sounds like a major – and overdue – power shift is coming

Heather Dahl, Indicio

“What SSI does is it introduces trust, it introduces verified source data, and it brings the dignity back to the holder to allow what they want to disclose, given the context of that relationship.”

Quote from Heather Dahl, CEO of Indicio, during a panel discussion at The Phocuswright Conference, published this week on PhocusWire, about the application of emerging self-sovereign digital identity solutions in the travel industry.

Every Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.

The “dignity” that Heather Dahl, CEO of Indicio, speaks of comes from the fact that identity solutions based on self-sovereign, decentralized technology put control in the hands of the individual – in this case, the traveler.

Using a verifiable credential stored in a digital wallet, the traveler has full and exclusive control over when their personal data is shared, what parts of it are shared, for what purpose and for how long.

Examples of the types of data stored in a digital wallet include personal identity information such as passports and driver’s licenses, health data, payment accounts, login details, preferences related to things like seats and hotel rooms, loyalty program details, travel history, and more.

When this comes to fruition – and not if, but when – it will be a transformative change, shifting power from travel providers to travelers themselves and giving travelers more choice, better personalization, less friction and more security.

And isn’t it time?

As e-commerce systems have evolved over the decades, consumers have become more accustomed to handing over their personal information – it’s de facto “pay to play” to have an efficient shopping experience.

Personal data is collected and stored in databases maintained by third parties. Unfortunately, all too often it is not adequately monitored, leaving data vulnerable to hackers. And from a user experience standpoint, it can be tricky to remember login names and passwords for each individual digital account.

And yet most of us still type, sometimes reluctantly, our address, our passport number, our date of birth, our credit card number.

Ironically, while willingness to participate in the world of digital commerce offers the benefit of more choice – in the case of travel that could mean more options for where to stay, how to get there or how to pay – the only choice travelers still don’t have to go, again, about their very personal data.

But we are convinced that that will change. There is ongoing collaboration between technology providers, travel brands and governments to achieve verifiable credentials. There will undoubtedly be bumps along the way to full and scalable implementation, but the effort is moving in the right direction and there is now no turning back.

Smart travel brands already know this, and they are seizing the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by educating themselves on the topic, researching what it will mean for the way their systems work, and seizing the opportunity to create a better – build more dignified – relationship with customers.

Sounds out

PhocusWire’s feature articles examine a trend or development highlighted in an article throughout the week.

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