Sounding Off: A major – and overdue – power shift is coming to travel

Heather Dahl, Indicio “What SSI does is it introduces trust, it introduces verified source data and it brings the dignity back to the holder to allow what they want to disclose given the context of that relationship.”  Quote from Heather Dahl, Indicio CEO, during a panel discussion at The Phocuswright […]

Heather Dahl, Indicio

“What SSI does is it introduces trust, it introduces verified
source data and it brings the dignity back to the holder to allow what they
want to disclose given the context of that relationship.” 

Quote from Heather Dahl, Indicio CEO, during a panel
discussion at The Phocuswright Conference published on PhocusWire this week,
about the application of emerging self-sovereign digital identity solutions in
the travel industry.

Each
Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development
covered by PhocusWire that week.

The “dignity” that Indicio CEO Heather Dahl speaks of stems
from that fact that identity solutions built on self-sovereign, decentralized
technology put the control in the hands of the individual – in this case, the
traveler. 

Using a verifiable credential stored in a digital wallet,
the traveler has complete and sole control over when his or her personal data
is shared, what parts of it are shared, for what purpose and for how long.

Examples of the types of data that would be stored in a
digital wallet include personal identity information such as passports and
driver licenses, health data, payment accounts, login credentials, preferences related
to things such as airline seats and hotel rooms, loyalty program details, travel
history and more. 

When this comes to fruition – and not if, but when – it will
be a transformative change, shifting power from travel suppliers to travelers
themselves and giving travelers more choice, better personalization, lower
friction and more security. 

And isn’t it time?

As e-commerce systems have developed over the last few
decades, consumers have become more accustomed to handing over their personal
data – it’s the de facto “pay to play” to have an efficient shopping
experience. 

Personal data is collected and stored in databases
controlled by third-parties. Unfortunately, all too often it is not adequately
controlled, leaving data vulnerable to hackers. And from the perspective of
user experience, having to remember login names and passwords for every
individual digital account can be a nuisance. 

And yet, most of us still, albeit at times reluctantly, type
in our address, our passport number, our birth date, our credit card number. 

Rather ironically, while willingness to participate in the
world of digital commerce brings the benefit of more choice – in the case of
travel, that can mean more options of where to stay, how to get there or how to
pay – the one choice travelers still don’t have is, again, about their very personal
data. 

But
we are confident that is changing. There is ongoing, collaborative work taking
place among technology providers, travel brands and governments to make
verifiable credentials a reality. There will no doubt be bumps along the path
to full and scalable implementation, but the effort is moving in the right
direction, and there is no turning back now. 

Smart travel
brands already know this, and they are seizing the opportunity to gain a
competitive advantage by educating themselves on the topic, exploring what it
will mean for the way their systems operate and embracing the opportunity to
build a better – more dignified – relationship with customers.

Sounding Off

PhocusWire’s editorials examine a trend or development highlighted in an article during the week.

https://www.phocuswire.com/sounding-off-144-ssi-power-shift-in-travel

Dong Anker

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