The Digital Governance Council (DGC, dgc-cgn.org) continues to facilitate member-based solution testing to help inform technology development and adoption in Canada. Over the past several years, DGC helped facilitate member testing of an innovative password-less login solution, a cloud-based solution to discover, model, analyze and find insights into digital enterprises, and a SaaS solution to securely connect and collaborate with remote employees and third parties.
In 2023, following the publications of the second edition national standard for digital trust and identity, CAN/DGSI 103-1:2023, Digital Trust and Identity – Part 1: Fundamentals and National Technical Specification for Digital Credential and Digital Trust Services (DGSI/TS 115), a milestone deliverable for Standards Council of Canada’s flagship initiative to develop an accreditation program for the certification of digital credential and digital trust services, including digital wallets and digital repositories, DGC challenged its member, AffinitiQuest, to prove out a commercially available standards-based verifiable credential service to enable easy member access to protected content on the DGC website. The goal was to lead by practical example – to demonstrate the adoption of an early market solution to its membership of over 200 technology executives and influencers across Canada.
Digital Governance Council members include some of Canada’s largest enterprises across sectors including Financial Services, Technology solution providers and Public Sector institutions, and its challenge-based testing of new available technologies is providing Canadians with confidence in the responsible design, architecture and management of digital technologies
AffinitiQuest (affinitiquest.io) is a Microsoft ISV Partner that develops leading-edge software for clients to leverage the benefits of Decentralized Identity and Verifiable Credentials to simplify business processes and to encourage end-users to take control of their own identity information.
Several strategic goals complemented the technical goals of testing and proving out this new digital technology. These included:
- The ability to showcase verifiable credentials by issuing a Digital Membership Card directly to each representative of its member organizations so they can better understand the technology and its potential impact;
- Furthering the development of technical expertise and knowledge to assist in the engagement of industry experts, national and global partners, and the public to better understand how DGC might contribute to a national agenda for digital credentials;
- Exploring how verifiable credentials could play a role in the accreditation of a future digital trust conformity assessment and certification program.
The AffinitiQuest Solution
AffinitiQuest developed an understanding of DGC’s objectives and their desire to have an inclusive, ‘out-of-the-box’, standards-based solution. AffinitiQuest worked with DGC to develop a phased approach to achieving testing objectives. The resulting solution included the AffinitiQuest Digital Experience Orchestration Platform, Microsoft Authenticator and Microsoft Entra Verified ID.
The simplicity of the end user login experience is shown below. The objective was to utilize DGC’s infrastructure consisting of a collection of SaaS (Software as a Service) services that included: a WordPress hosted website, the MS Office 365 Suite, the Nutshell CRM platform, and finally, the AffinitiQuest Verifiable Credential Orchestration Service.
The project was a success. AffinitiQuest successfully integrated the credential issuance process into the Nutshell Customer Relationship Management (CRM) service used by DGC for its membership. Through Nutshell, DGC Members are offered a verifiable credential – a DGC Member Card, which is provisioned into the Android/ISO Microsoft Authenticator app on the user’s phone. Once the verifiable credential is within the app, the DGC Member can visit the DGG website and login securely using a QR code that is enabled by the AffinitiQuest Plugin for WordPress
As part of testing, experience results were contributed to the National Digital Credential Technical Specification (DGSI TS 115) as part of Standards Council of Canada’s flagship digital credential initiative.
“We contributed our learnings from the development of technical specifications and applied within our own organization”, said Keith Jansa, Chief Executive Officer of DGC, “Implementation was an equally valuable learning experience. Through an iterative process, we created a service experience that provides value to the DGC membership and helps to improve AffinitiQuest’s SaaS offering to the market.”
“Working with DGC has proven immensely valuable” said Ben Piercey, Chief Technology Officer, AffinitiQuest, “by leveraging DGC’s insights on the Canadian digital business landscape in addition to their expert knowledge of evolving standards, we were able to look beyond the immediate implementation to arrive at a solution that can serve the broader digital credential ecosystem and marketplace.”
Members can now securely login to the Digital Governance Council’s website using a verifiable credential that they share from their digital wallet. While a small but crucial stepping-stone toward richer and more impactful interactions, conformity assessment organizations can benefit from issuing verifiable digital credentials for certificates of compliance (a future use case being tested by DGC).
The successful integration of the AffinitiQuest solution into DGC’s existing infrastructure using a standards-based approach with enterprise-grade products paves the way toward a future where Canadians using digital credentials as part of every digital interaction and with confidence across the many markets and sectors of the digital economy.