Decentralised digital identities for employees and machines

With the Digital Identities project, the Federal Government of Germany wants to issue online ID cards starting in autumn 2021. Citizens will be able to store these in their smartphones.

Identification with a digital identity

Until now, we needed a physical identity card to prove our identity. Secure digital identity cards are not easy to develop; they are currently still in the project phase. Standards are needed for a European or worldwide solution. The Object Management Group is developing global technology standards, including decentralised digital identities for companies, people and machines.

Decentralised digital identities for employees in logistics

Decentralised digital identities are technically independent of nation states; instead, they work with cryptography, i.e. mathematics. They do not replace official proof of identity, they complement it. Trusted sources such as the place of education, a bank or the road traffic office can be added.

Truck drivers can identify themselves with their DID without any doubt and securely. Authentication with the fleet manager is automatic, e.g. via a fleet management app. This is still future technology, but precisely these standards are currently being developed.

In the course of logistics automation, trucks are getting digital identities as well. New and existing employees can log on to the vehicle with an app, whereupon the lock opens and they can start their tour.

This technology makes it easier for employees and at the same time safer and more verifiable for the company. Error-prone processes such as accident reports can be logged in a tamper-proof manner using blockchain technology and assigned beyond doubt.

Technology standards are needed to simplify processes

The DID solution of the Berlin-based non-profit IOTA Foundation is in the process of being recognised as a standard by the Object Management Group. It is thus on its way to becoming a global technology standard.

For many companies in the logistics industry, this is merely a futuristic dream as of 2021. When asked personally about the status of digitalisation, some companies stated that they had recently started using Excel. 30% of logistics companies in Germany do not yet use any software at all, but most of these are smaller companies. The demand for assistance and fuel-saving applications is increasing. One example is truck platooning, which is currently being developed in the Fraunhofer Blockchain Lab.

Banks like the Dutch de Volksbank are developing concepts to open accounts with decentralised digital identities. There is a high probability that the development will happen faster than you think. Would you have predicted the boom in electric cars two years ago? “That will take another 10 years.” is what I heard in 2019. Open and close your eyes and the future is here.