This is a guest post by Micah Willbrand, Vice President of Product Development, NEC Corporation of America
At NEC, we think a lot about the Identity Gap – the chasm between our online identities and offline identities. In recent blog posts, we have explored how Digital ID can be used to effectively bridge the Identity Gap in places like airports (with respect to passenger processing) and workspaces (in terms of identifying employees across the enterprise). But the Identity Gap appears in a broad range of other sectors and has only been growing wider as digital transformation has accelerated. Fortunately, in each case Digital ID technologies like those used in NEC’s I:Delight platform offers compelling solutions to narrow the gap between our online and offline identities.
Retail offers a great example. Indeed, this sector is all too often emblematic of the fundamental problem: many retailers can readily identify customers by their online accounts, but not in person – and vice versa; your local wine merchant, for example, might know you by sight, but may struggle to verify your identity and age for an online order.
Digital identity can solve this problem. Digital ID can give customers a means of establishing a consistent identity for use across the digital channel and brick-and-mortar locations. With NEC I:Delight, for example, a customer can set up a user profile on their personal smartphone that ties their personal information and payment card details to their face. This enables biometric authentication of online purchases through the mobile device, but it can also be used to biometrically identify the customer in a store. It can even be leveraged to allow the customer to make a purchase at an automated checkout using only their face to make the payment. Alternatively, the merchant can set up the digital ID to also operate on a mobile wallet, letting customers tap to pay.
Importantly, I:Delight takes a cloud-native approach to store customer data. Sensitive personal information is stored only on the customer’s smartphone; the merchant, meanwhile, has access to a centralized database containing only the information needed for customer service. Thus, the merchant can identify the customer, retrieve their relevant payment information, and make the necessary adjustments to any loyalty rewards points to process transactions without unnecessary information such as a home address.
For age-restricted purchases (such as a bottle of Bordeaux), the I:Delight platform uses an individual’s Digital ID to confirm that the customer is of age without disclosing their actual date of birth. The merchant, meanwhile, can rest assured that they are compliant with evolving privacy protection regulations concerning consumers.
This same approach to customer identification and transaction processing can be applied in the entertainment sector, where guests of venues like theme parks or sports stadiums can use their mobile-based Digital ID to make purchases and access VIP areas. More importantly, I:Delight can be used to enable seamless and secure access to such venues in the first place, with tickets tied directly to a customer’s Digital ID. This makes the customer authentication process fast and easy while preventing forgeries and counterfeits.
In government services, meanwhile, Digital ID can dramatically reduce wait times for simple tasks like driver’s license renewal at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
All of this offers an illustration of a future in which Digital ID has bridged the Identity Gap. Consumers will be able to seamlessly make purchases and access venues; employees will have easy access to the resources they need from any touchpoint; and government agencies will be able to offer streamlined services to the delight of citizens and administrators alike. To learn how your organization can start preparing for its own Identity Gap-free future, download NEC’s new white paper “Bridging the Identity Gap with Digital ID and NEC.”