in Ontario, Startups, Toronto

SlashID – Federated Identity Management

Slash ID LogoSlashID launched today. The Toronto, Ontario based company is entering a market that has slain giants such as Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and IBM among others. This is also the same general market that Vancouver-based SXIP is competing in, although they have a primarily enterprise-focused business model (where they compete with companies such as Australian Atlassian with its Crowd product).

The most successful effort to date in the federated-credentials market has been OpenID, which has seen a lot of acceptance in the developer and service provider world, but still flounders in obscurity for the average internet user. So, the big question really is: is there a federated credentials business to be made at all? Or is this just a big dream?

The benefit to the end user seems obvious: I have one login name and password to remember and no matter which site I go to, I can log in without going through signup hassles or having to reset a long-forgotten password. This has been the promise of every federated credential system to date, and it continues to be a major dream of companies such as Google and Microsoft, who feel that the credential and it’s attached identity are the keys to being the number one destination for web users.

For website owners, the deal gets a little more complicated. Above all else, site owners feel like they are being asked to give up control for the sake of user convenience. The fact is though, there is very little evidence that tells site owners that users will bypass their site or application in favor of a competitor because they do not allow users to use an external authentication system. While the level of control being given up in reality is minimal, if any at all, perception remains the biggest enemy of federated credential systems.

Will SlashID make a break for it? A strong endorsement on Mashable is a great start, and their focus on providing up-to-date and useful developer tools is smart. If SlashID can provide incentives to site owners to include them as a login option, then they could emerge as a clear leader.

Contact: Colin Smillie