We need a broad-scope identity conference

* Taking identity management to a larger venue

The last couple of issues I’ve talked about conferences, virtual directories and the growth of identity discussions in Europe. Today I’ll put all three together.

Symlabs is probably the only global identity management endor headquartered in Lisbon. Still, physical location no longer dictates the influence or impact a company can have (e.g., MaXware, recently big in the news, was headquartered in Trondheim, Norway – not really a destination, and a place few people even pass through on their way to somewhere else). Symlabs’ Chief Architect Felix Gaehtgens, certainly turns up in a lot of different places, including the august pages of this newsletter, see “The good and bad about static vs. virtual directories”, for example.

He recently dropped me a note to tell me about a European Identity conference he’d attended, and what he found unique about it. In his own words:

“Last week, I was at the 1st European Identity Conference in Munich. This conference is organized by Kuppinger + Cole, a German Identity Analyst group. We know that a lot of new ID Conferences are springing up, since ID management is a hot topic, and many organizers are trying to cash in on numerous conferences out there. However, this conference had something truly unique.

“So what made this conference stand out? First of all, the scope of the presentations. This was something completely new that I haven't seen before. Most conferences pitch (exclusively, unfortunately) to the CxOs, management and decision makers, and are therefore kept to the high level. This conference also addressed those needs with overviews, workshops and user/case study presentations. HOWEVER, and this is what I liked about it, this was the first conference (in my opinion) that had a broader scope by also addressing the needs of those techies and geeks that roam these types of conferences.

“There were several presentations and workshops that were very technical and ‘hands-on’, going into the real guts of the technology and implementations. I've been to a presentation where a person from a German bank talked about how to integrate Kerberos between Unix and Windows. That presentation was fantastic, and very lively. You could feel the electricity in the air with all those geeks like me talking technology. Then there was a real ‘how-to’ workshop on how to boot-strap the Liberty ID-WSF (Web Services Foundation) using two different implementations using a practical example and showing how everything fits together.”

Felix noted that his own presentation, on "how to deploy a bullet-proof, fail-safe directory infrastructure," surprised him by the very interactive and involved audience participation.

Now, I do agree that we need more conferences of this type. We do have them in North America – things like Courion’s Converge, the Internet Identity Workshops and NetPro’s Directory Experts Conference come to mind – but it’s generally organized around a particular vendor, product or technology rather than as part of a conference covering a broad spectrum of identity. Maybe what we really need is an identity fair (or “identitie faire”) with PowerPoint presentations for those who need them and hands-on labs for those who don’t. Something for everyone, under the big top. Not just a “dog-and-pony” show, but a real three ring circus. Who’ll step up and organize this?

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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