Digital Identity: The key to unlocking a customer-centric travel experience

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Digital Identity has always been on the cards, albeit light regarding impetus. Partly due to a widely-held fear as to why one would want to expose themselves online when carrying a physical wallet feels safer, tangible and more familiar.

In recent months, however, we have seen the continuation and solidification of the “anti-FANG” (FANG — Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) movement. The events of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal and its influence over the US and Brexit polls highlights the need for evolution in digital identity ownership. In the same way that a driver’s license gives us control over our identity in the physical world, it is becoming increasingly necessary to maintain the same level of control in digital environments. Without such a mechanism we are left to the companies we interact with to keep our personal information, all through a clunky collection of usernames and passwords.

We believe that Digital Identity creates the capacity to take back control of who and when external entities can access and use personal information. In short, the ability to owning one’s identity and who gets to see it, use it and profit from it. The development of more sophisticated Distributed Ledger Technology solutions facilitates the storing of this information. Not with any single company but in a secure (encrypted) and ideally decentralised way. Doing so reduces the ability for such information to be hacked and misused.

Many people feel like they have been mistreated by centralised institutions that they have been placing trust in. Driving this increased realisation is a greater understanding and knowledge of just how these organisations are using and profiting from user-information. The widespread adoption of Digital Identity underpinned by new decentralised platforms has the potential to be genuinely transformational.

Imagine being on holiday where you find your health impaired and being able to provide the doctor with your medical history. Imagine being able to store your values and what is important to you online, managed and controlled by you, and interact with the businesses that reflect your values all without disclosing anything. Cryptocurrencies are just the start of what can be stored in a digital wallet.

Likewise, in the travel industry, The World Economic Forum’s “Known Traveller” concept posits some truly innovating scenarios. Imagine being able to scan your bags yourself, attach them to your digital profile, clear immigration on the way to the airport using biometric validation and have pre-approval of visas on arrival by approving access to your digital passport. We at Traversel see this as the “brave new world” of travel. Imagine the ability to integrate multiple disparate processes related to one single consumer journey into a truly seamless and immersive experience that is governed by a consistent, reliable and reusable digital identity. Immediately, eliminating with great ease key consumer, pain-points.

The World Economic Forum identified 5 key consumer pain-points (refer Diagram 1); 1) Visa Application & Screening, 2) Booking, 3) Security Screening, 4) Departure Gate & Exit Control, and 5) Arrival & Border Security.

Source: World Economic Forum, “Known Traveler — Unlocking the potential of digital identity for secure and seamless travel”; January 2018

A nominal improvement in any one of the five key areas will have a dramatic shift in the customer experience and its associated Net Promoter Score. While we recognise that the widespread adoption of Digital Identity is still a ways off, national-level prototypes for specific countries have already begun to surface, with the likes of Estonia being early adopters. Traversel sees the incorporation of Digital Identity into our systems as a necessary step to providing our core mission;

 

“We believe there is a better way to buy and sell travel. From the customer experience to the platforms used by suppliers, the end to end solution should be elegant, intuitive, powerful and sophisticated”.

 

Digital Identity Solutions (Some of the existing)

Sovrin uses its own proprietary hybrid public permissioned blockchain that exists on top of the Sovrin Trust Framework. Using a combination of publicly available Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs) as well as off chain private data, aspects of an individual’s identity, e.g. age or address, may be obtained using zero-knowledge proofs that confirm the validity of a claim without needing to reveal the data itself.

uPort uses the ethereum blockchain and combines mobile which holds the users’ keys with smart contracts that link to off-chain stores such as IPFS, AWS, Azure, dropbox etc.

Traversel is positioning its systems to integrate with this new world. We’ve expressly chosen to solve from the perspective of the customer and their end to end journey, that is, from ideation, booking, visa and airport experience through to the destination itself, helping the customer obtain mobile data in a foreign land and more. How can we operate in ways that help safeguard each individual overseas while they navigate unfamiliar jurisdictions? How can we exercise duty of care? These are the fundamental questions that Traversel is trying to answer. We do not believe we can solve it alone and are developing deep relationships with like-minded companies to collaboratively develop the travel ecosystem of the future, our “brave new world”.

 

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