Today at Kynetx Impact Conference Kynetx is changing the future of Web Identity and privacy as we know it by taking the power away from the server and moving it over to users’ desktops, mobile phones, or other client-based technology. Dr. Phil Windley, company CTO and co-founder in his keynote shared that the web client is the “forgotten edge” when it comes to open software development and identity management. Currently the traditional model in identity has been one of location base, instead of purpose-based, as Dr. Windley has suggested is the future of internet activity. Today Kynetx is releasing a developer platform which intends to enable that purpose-based identity on the web.
About a year ago I wrote on LouisGray.com about how sites like Twitter have become the “portal” of Web 2.0. The idea is that users are starting to use Twitter as a gateway to post content to the other sites that they actually use. Portals have been around for awhile, Yahoo perhaps being one of the most prominent and brings content all into one location, intended to personalize the aggregation of content to the user. In that sense, sites like FriendFeed are also modern portals.
Identity Solution #1: The Silo
The weakness of the traditional portal is that it is Location-based. Dr. Windley suggested that users that visit websites aren’t there to visit a location – they have a purpose as to why they visit the website and portals can’t solve this problem. Server-based solutions cannot determine the purpose of users visiting each website, as they are only capable of tracking an IP address for that user, which in and of itself isn’t even always reliable. Sites like Facebook have tried to resolve this problem by bringing the user into a Silo, enabling them to tell others in that Silo about themselves, allowing better privacy since it is all controlled in a Silo.
The problem with the Silo method is that one single entity owns the user’s data in that case. Users are at the mercy of the Silo to get their data out of the Silo and if the Silo ever goes away or the user ever leaves the Silo, so does their identity. What Kynetx is doing is working to remove the need for that Silo, hopefully enabling sites like Facebook that intend to respect user privacy and user choice (something I defined earlier as another definition of “open”), taking the user’s identity information and allowing them to store that information on their desktop or in the browser itself.
Identity Solution #2: The Client and “Information Cards”
Currently through an open technology called “Information Cards”, users are able to store identity information for the various websites they visit on their own desktop. This information is owned by the user, does not get stored on a developers server anywhere, and gives an even more detailed view of the user than any other source can give. Kynetx is looking to bridge these Information Cards to the browser via an API through which developers can utilize these cards, and customize the browsing experience a user has as they have a purpose they want to accomplish on the web.
One example Dr. Windley shared was that of AAA (triple-A) automobile service. Using the Kynetx engine, a developer can take AAA data, and mesh it with search results on Google.com and Yahoo.com, and based on a user’s Information Card identify the search results that might be pertinent to that user in relation to AAA. Another example of this is on the actual wireless network they are using at the Kynetx Impact Conference, in which they are placing various markers to give more information about the conference. For instance, as I type this, I am seeing a little “Schedule” tab to the right that I can click any time and have the schedule for the conference pop up. Anyone can implement this technology, and Kynetx is enabling any developer to write their own layer to the web utilizing a user’s true identity and bring that identity on top of the web itself. This stuff is powerful!
Imagine these applications in the mobile space – what if a developer could take this similar conference technology Kynetx is using at this conference, and apply it to a mobile browser, showing the location of everyone else in the conference on a map, but also showing their identities, perhaps grouping people together by experience and what their interests are. Or, if you take this to the shopping experience, a vendor could cater a completely customized shopping experience that is completely controlled by the user. With Kynetx, the customer truly is the boss.
Kynetx is doing some amazing things in the identity space. It’s amazing to watch as the leaders of this space – Phil Windley, Craig Burton, Doc Searls, Drummond Reed, and Kim Cameron are all here working to change the way we view identity. True identity belongs on the client. True identity belongs in the hands of the user. Kynetx has just changed everything with their new platform. I encourage you to check it out. You can learn more about Kynetx at http://developer.kynetx.com.
Here’s an interview I did at a dinner they invited me to last night with Phil Windley where he explains the concept: