The Internet of Things (IoT) has arrived and with Gartner predicting there will be nearly 25 billion IoT devices by 2020, businesses and organisations must be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities it presents. The businesses defining the futures of their respective industries will be the ones leveraging the IoT effectively today.

Digital identity management is critical when creating a personalised experience for customers. These systems unify the identities of users, cloud services and connected devices, changing the way businesses interact with their customers. With a digital identity ecosystem, every person or machine connected to the Internet is assigned a unique digital identity.

Organisations can embrace the IoT and take advantage of the opportunities it offers by focussing on five pillars of successful digital business:

1 - A smooth, secure IoT

The IoT has connected billions of new users, services and devices but legacy identity systems were not designed to create a seamless, secure experience. Businesses often struggle to connect with customers in meaningful ways, rendering the experience generic and disjointed but by securely unifying disparate digital identities, businesses are able to create consistent, personalised user experiences. User interactions with connected devices can help businesses to bridge the physical and digital worlds on any scale.

2 - Contextual security

Context is required to understand the true nature of a digital interaction. Does the customer usually log in from that country? Do they have a device that is allowed to access health data? Around what time of day do they usually login and what kind of system do they use? With billions of IoT devices going online and new digital relationships being formed, all identities in the digital ecosystem must be continuously authenticated. Credentials (logins and passwords) are no longer enough to ensure security; digital organisations require measures that are more advanced than simply checking a username and password.

3 - Privacy empowerment

Building secure, trusted and transparent digital relationships that prioritise user privacy is key. Customers can then be given more control over their personal data with a new privacy standard called User-Managed Access (UMA). UMA lets users determine which parties, services and devices can access their data, for how long and under what conditions. This secure data sharing helps organisations deliver personalised services across all channels, whilst maintaining user trust.

4 - Personalising the customer experience

A unified user identity is critical for creating a seamless, multi-channel customer experience. Preferences, habits and history linked to a user’s identity help organisations to personalise interactions with the customer. Users have come to expect services that recognise and adapt to their tastes in real time. Yet gaining a single view of each user proves elusive for many businesses. Users interact with organisations on so many channels that information remains isolated at each point of contact.

By building user-centric digital ecosystems, businesses can exceed user expectations with dynamic experiences. Identity is the driving force behind the IoT, improving lives at a personal and organisational level.

5 - Open source

Most businesses are held back by legacy identity systems that limit collaborative input whereas enterprise-class open source identity platforms offer transparency around the development process. The modular, scalable and flexible architecture can accommodate millions of concurrent users and devices, helping organisations achieve their strategic goals faster than their competitors can.

Digital transformation and the future

Organisations adopting the five pillars are more likely to undergo a successful digital transformation and will benefit from the IoT and the opportunities it offers. Scalable and flexible digital identity ecosystems are a critical component of this transformation, with the innovative companies embracing identity management becoming the thought leaders of their industries. These systems identify the needs and wants of users, providing them with the personalised experience they have come to expect in the 21st Century.

By Simon Moffat, Solutions Director, ForgeRock