DIDW 2006 Thoughts

Well, DIDW 2006 has been over for a couple of days. Here are my slightly schizophrenic thoughts, now that I’ve had a chance to go over my experiences:

This year marked a big change in topics of discussion. There was a lot of ‘deployment experience’ content, the content on which IT personnel make their case for the expense of attending the conference in the first place. I did not however, hear a lot of hallway discussion surrounding provisioning, or single sign-on. Not even much discussion around (passive) federation.

There was a lot of interest in user-centric technologies, but my impression was that the interest was in personal application first and foremost. What I mean by that is that it seemed that many attendees identified as a user more than as an IT shop. It isn’t surprising, really – the B2C advantages are obvious, and the technology itself is just plain fun to geek out on. Plus, I think that the personalities involved in user-centric technologies make it hard to not want to find out more. That kind of pioneering passion and enthusiasm is easy to find enticing.

Luckily, on Thursday Ping helped to bring the user-centric stuff more officially into the realm of usefulness for the DIDW demographic with their presentation on Understanding Infocards in an Enterprise Setting. By talking about “passive” and “active” federation, they introduced a simple way to contrast the 2-party system vs. the 3-party system. How nice to have a way to characterize what is happening and to help make decisions about when user control is desirable within and at the borders of the Enterprise. Also during that presentation, Ping announced that Ashish Jain’s Managed Card IdP implementation will be open sourced. I’m very happy about that and can’t wait to play!

On the vendor floor, I saw at least three different vendors demonstrate use of some combination of Infocards and OpenID. It didn’t look like the big deal that it was, to be honest, it all just looked to me like such options had always been there. It seems obvious as well that the number of login options will hit a natural limit. Three options (for example OpenID, Information Card, Username/Password) is a nice number — how many more can be added before it gets confusing? I’m interested to watch and see who wins the login form real estate war, and when the war starts not just in proof of concept, but in reality.

I was hoping to see a deployment presentation from a Liberty member this year, detailing their rollout of ID-WSF. Was it too soon? Am I allowed to make a request for next year?

One thing I think was lacking was a central place for everyone to get together at night. The theory was that this place was the vendor floor, and there were receptions planned there on monday and tuesday night — but the problem was that people had to leave to get food, since there were only appetizers at the reception. Once everyone splintered up to eat, they stayed splintered. There just wasn’t a sense that it was a party… I thought that the gambling theme of DIDW in Denver was a much more social event, even if I did suffer the indignity of lasting less than .05 seconds on the electronic bull :-)

All in all, DIDW 2006 was entertaining and educational. I liked the pairing of IOS with DIDW — kudos to the organizers of both events for thinking to team up. I think that IOS provided excellent grounding for later DIDW talks. Next year DIDW will take place in San Francisco – I hope I’ll be there to do it all over again…