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Interoperable and Interoperability

Interoperability is the ability for digital identity technologies or systems to communicate with each other or work together. Many benefits of digital ID, including efficiencies, fraud reduction and ease of use, are made possible when systems are interoperable.

There are many examples of interoperable devices - your smart watch may sync to your phone, and your thermostat can connect to your tablet. For identification to be interoperable, it must be accepted and trusted by different stakeholders. For instance, different financial services providers could come together to streamline ID verification processes, supporting a single, interoperable approach to ID in the financial sector.

On a larger scale, identity can be interoperable across national borders. Different national governments have elected to accept the passport as proof of identity, allowing users to present this document anywhere in the world as verification.

As more identification becomes digitized, interoperability will be important to ensuring that digital IDs are widely usable, and not siloed to a particular industry or region.

More around the web

“[Interoperability] states that identities should be as widely usable as possible. The current identification infrastructure is flawed in that there isn’t a global standardization for the use of identification....Interoperability allows identification to cross international borders without users losing control of what information is shared. Individuals would be able to maintain their identities across platforms and geographical locations.”

Self-Sovereign Identity Principle #7: Interoperability - Metadium

“Digital ID interoperability has the potential to be extremely generative, creating new markets and enabling interoperability among other applications and services. If, however, coordination breaks down among market leaders and rival technologies emerge, it seems likely that user adoption will remain low and the benefits will be limited.”

Digital Identity Interoperability and eInnovation - John Palfrey & Urs Gasser, Digital Identity Interoperability and eInnovation, Berkman Publication Series (2007)

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