Follow The (OpenID) Money 1

One of the topics discussed recently at Ping Identity’s OpenID Summit at its Cloud Identity Conference and again at last week’s Gartner Catalyst conference was a “consumerisation of the enterprise” . OpenID was at the center of those discussions as technology bulls and bears debated its value in both enterprise and consumer use cases.

Perhaps OpenID’s evolution from little corners of the internet to mainstream adoption tracks the changes in internet identity best understood in hindsight. One leading edge adopter’s review of how OpenID’s user centricity morphed to a provider centric architecture is seen in‘s Chuck Mortimore’s blunt but bullish presentation on ‘Does OpenID work for the Enterprise?

In deciding whether one is bearish or bullish on OpenID, it may be useful to “follow the money” and follow the leaders. OpenID Connect, like OAuth 2.0, is among the few standards that have real technical engagement from the likes of Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

While no one can predict what these companies, relying parties and small companies will do, we can see where they invest. Whether at industry conferences or launching pilots, industry leaders and developers like JanRain, Ping Identity and others are making multi-year /multi-million dollar bets on protocols like OpenID Connect as it tracks with OAuth in enabling new claims and data centric architectures.

Following the money supports a bullish view of the value beyond social/single sign-on in today’s web. As noted, companies like Ping Identity, JanRain and others have raised significant funding to pursue opportunities in this space as analysts note a strong demand for identity management solutions globally.

Bears among us may rightfully point to how OpenID has been quiet over the past year as it adjusted to the new market conditions like those Chuck Mortimore described. Making sausage and standards isn’t pretty and takes a maddening amount of time and money. Engineers, be they community volunteers or “volunteered” by large industry leaders, take care when re-architecting a core offering like OpenID.

Meanwhile, OpenID Foundation members like Symantec, PayPal, Google, and others continue to co-sponsor OpenID Summits and other events where the evolution of OpenID is discussed/planned and its adoption continues to increase around the world. Although OpenID may be more about ‘plumbing’ than the next big darling of the Silicon Valley tech press, its premise and technological underpinnings are proving to be solid and in tune with the future.

Finally, take a look at the work being done at the OpenID Foundation and Google on the Account Chooser, a scalable, user-friendly way to bring OpenID technologies to the masses, while still supporting a philosophy of decentralized, interoperable identity solutions.

Bears and Bulls can judge for themselves as OpenID Connect is tried, tested and toughened at an OpenID Summit hosted by Microsoft on September 12 and 13 in Mountain View CA at Microsoft’s offices where the OpenID Foundation will be hosting a technical interop and testing workshop for engineers and developers interested in OpenID Connect.

There will also be sessions for website operators who want to learn more about why they should get out of the password business and integrate with identity providers. Information on how to register for the event will be posted soon. In other words, whether bearish or bullish, don’t touch the remote and stay tuned for more in the evolution of OpenID.