Gartner logo for hype cycle blog

In today's increasingly digitized world, digital identity plays a crucial role in preventing fraud, securing personal data, and protecting businesses. Managing identities and access effectively has become a challenge for organizations, leading to the emergence of innovative technologies in the field. The 2023 Hype Cycle for Digital Identity, crafted by Gartner, provides valuable insights into the latest advancements and trends that are shaping the future of digital identity. Here's our five key takeaways from the 2023 Hype Cycle, focusing on the technologies driving and shaping the digital identity space. 

Growing complexity is creating an emerging ecosystem

With the widespread adoption of digital identity, organizations face the challenge of managing identities not just for people but also for machines, such as IoT devices and workloads. This complexity is further amplified as digital identity extends beyond organizational boundaries — and is creating an emerging ecosystem of networked people, machines, and organizations. This ecosystem leverages existing, trusted infrastructures to securely share and protect their identities, and as it emerges, is fostering new business models and enabling safe digital interactions.

Identity verification adoption continues to grow

Now in the ‘Plateau of Productivity’ but with only an estimated market penetration between 20-50%, identity verification is a widely accepted technology for verifying genuine users. The ability to remotely onboard new customers or open new accounts with confidence is critical. And though some concerns with cost, user experience, and drop-off are cited, the ability to verify an identity with high assurance is essential to mitigate fraudulent activity as well as align with compliance requirements. Moving forward the confluence of authentication with identity proofing to address additional use cases underlies the inherent value of identity verification for regulated and unregulated businesses. 

Transformational innovations appear on the radar

The Hype Cycle emphasizes several transformational innovations that are poised to revolutionize digital identity. Two notable technologies are Decentralized Identity (DCI) and Verifiable Credentials (VCs). DCI empowers individuals to control their digital identity through decentralized identifiers, fostering secure connections and authentication. Meanwhile, VCs offer trusted information about an entity, enabling secure sharing and validation of identities and attributes. These are positioned by Gartner in the ‘trough of disillusionment’ with a projected time to plateau for less than two years for VCs and 2-5 years for DCI. Onfido’s recent acquisition of Airside is evidence of our belief in the transformational power of decentralized, user-controlled identity on the IDV space. 

Existing innovations now rated 'mature'

Many digital identity innovations have moved beyond the peak of the Hype Cycle, indicating a growth in both their maturity and as adoption. Notable technologies in this category include journey-time orchestration (JTO), which simplifies identity verification and authentication for users during digital user journeys, and identity wallets, which empower a user to own and control their digital credentials, making them not tied to any one organization. Additionally, Machine Identity Management and IoT Authentication have also progressed significantly, making them practical solutions for organizations.

Trust and usability is a balancing act

As organizations embrace new digital identity technologies, finding the right balance between trust and user experience becomes paramount. While technologies like DCI and VCs offer unparalleled trust and control over identities, they lack extensive experience in large-scale implementations. Moreover, competing specifications add complexity to the landscape. Effective business models are needed to ensure third-party guarantee for identity information, striking a harmonious balance between security and usability for employees and customers alike.

The 2023 Hype Cycle for Digital Identity provides a comprehensive overview of the latest trends and innovations in the realm of identity and access management. Organizations must navigate the growing complexity of digital identity while embracing transformational technologies like DCI and VCs. Maturity in technologies like JTO, and identity wallets further strengthens their relevance in the digital landscape. As we move forward, finding the right balance between trust and user experience becomes crucial for ensuring seamless and secure digital interactions. Leveraging insights from the Hype Cycle, CIOs and IT leaders can shape effective technology roadmaps, ensuring successful digital identity management for both individuals and machines in an increasingly interconnected world.

Learn more about our Real Identity Platform, powered by the award-winning Atlas AI, which delivers fast, fair and accurate results when onboarding new users.

Want to learn more?

Read Gartner’s Buyer’s Guide for Identity Proofing for their insights on how document and biometric verification can ensure proper user authentication and prevent fraud. 

Read report