Traditionally, the public sector has imposed the paradigms of government to citizen interaction, issuing documents and credentials in proprietary formats. Citizen IDs were developed so that government and law enforcement could identify the holder and the holder could assert his or her identity within the nation or even traveling.

Today many governments, particularly in emerging countries, are looking at horizontal programs for education, healthcare and employment, leaning on the infrastructure created for the unequivocal identification of residents. In this regard, modern delivery infrastructures are eventually being developed also in the public sector, after decades of innovation dominantly happening in private sector.

In their effort to serve a clientele that likewise switched to cell phones and smart phones, the world of enterprise has greatly anticipated the trend of allowing for personal devices to become an element in the extended infrastructure supporting the authentication processes. From purchasing tickets to receiving our boarding card, to showing it at security, there is little we cannot do with a phone to get our acts cleared when we plan for a trip. We are still waiting to see if our cell-phones will get us through e-gates, at least without needing to show a passport, but the trend is clear As a result of this digital shift, we have seen huge upgrades in ICT infrastructures and major opportunities are being generated for the auto ID industry especially with the growing trend of consumerization. There has been a harmonization effort so that standards could be developed for an integrated public/private sector infrastructure to be able to read these documents.

With the digitalization wave coming about after the call to action of the US Visit program, a common language was developed to support efficient and secure interaction by government authorities, law enforcement and transportation operators with national and foreign citizens attempting to assert their identities when requesting to cross borders or accessing secured areas in the hubs of our global transportation networks. With the introduction of electronic passports, the transportation industry was forced to undergo a huge revolution in terms of redesigning processes, interfaces and even rethinking the basic architecture of key infrastructures representing our internal borders such as major airports.

Looking at the future, we could be on the verge of seeing a new wave of consumerization as the direct consequence of democratization of secure identity. It would not be the consumerization driven by the spending power and preference of citizens, but a subsidized consumerization expressing the governments’ will to expand delivery systems well beyond the dispatching of social relief funds.

Governments could become the supporter of what can indeed be seen a consumerization in public services, where everything planned and designed for the citizen will be managed and accounted for in the digital world.

Sophie B. de la Giroday