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Meeting midway – a report from the ONCE project after halftime

Use cases  •  
Jul 04, 2022

Key Facts:  

Represented Consortia:
Number of Participants: 65 
Time: From Wednesday June 8th to Thursday the 9th  
Place: Hotel Hochheide in Willingen, our host and also project partner 

From 2021 until 2024, the German ministry of economics and climate action is funding four projects for “Secure Digital Identities”, each in a different part of Germany and executed by a consortium of different partners, stemming, respectively, from community administrations, industry sectors, tech providers, research institutions and use specific implementation partners. The four consortia are called ONCE, ID-Ideal, SDIKA and ID-Union. 

The ONCE consortium is one of the most ambitious of these four projects – led by the Bundesdruckerei they have the ambitious plan to be the first of the four SDI projects to wrap, by late summer of 2023.  

Now, with one year left and the pandemic-situation finally permitting to meet in person, it was time for an interim project meeting of the #ONCE2022 consortium. Altogether 65 participants gathered in Willingen from 8th – 9th June to discuss project milestones, next steps, and new developments. After multiple attempts and postponements, it was the first in-person meeting of the whole project team since the beginning of the implementation phase. As representatives from Jolocom, Kai Wagner and Ben Biedermann attended and presented our work.  

During this get-together it was satisfying to see the progress made in the different work packages. From implementing first prototypes in the field of electronic identity (eID) or mobile driving license (mDL), to creating student ID’s, communal and resident credentials, as well as credentials for the tourism and hospitality industry: the past year has been a productive one. Aside from updating each other on our individual progress, in collaborative brainstorming sessions we also put our physical presence to effective use. One session was focussed on improving our future users’ journey by applying innovative approaches from different digital industries to the problems we tackle. 

The Jolocom SmartWallet is the wallet of choice for all ONCE compliant use cases, but also in the broader SDI (Secure Digital Identity) ecosystem, with ID-Ideal and SDIKA using it as well. We saw six demonstrators for eID, mDL, and SSI credentials of all sorts from different partners. Furthermore, the Jolocom Agent is becoming increasingly popular among project partners as an efficient prototyping and implementation tool, be it as API or application.  

In Willingen, Jolocom was able to engage in and facilitate several technological discussions. Working together on the spot helped us generate new momentum and ideas for the upcoming months, where we are planning to move many of the use cases into pilots in our partner cities. We also engaged in fruitful conversations with representatives from ID-Ideal and SDIKA on issues pertaining to interoperability across the SDI ecosystem. These issues have previously been fostered by the Begleitforschung and are now picking up speed in bilateral projects and discussions. 

All workshops benefitted from the constructive attitude of the participants. The event highlighted the  productive and well-natured relationships that have been established in this consortium. State of the art conference rooms and facilities added to the friendly and inspiring atmosphere. On a personal level, our hike to the ski resorts of the region was a fantastic opportunity and reminder to connect beyond tiles on a screen and reconfirmed the importance of personal connections for developing safe digital identities. 

Cover image: courtesy of ONCE (cropped to fit the frame).