NIST will spend $750K to find out which identity management pilots produce results

The agency has been investing in authentication and identification — now it's looking for an outside party to say which technologies have the most potential to be scaled nationally.

In search of a better log-in, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced plans this month to spend $750,000 to measure the benefits of five state and local government identity management pilot projects it funded last year.

The measurement agency announced in a blog post plans to award approximately $750,000 to one vendor that can assess pilot projects funded by NIST last year and identify opportunities for further and more widespread adoption.

“While our office focuses on innovation and adoption in the market, measurement is critical to understanding what solutions work and how effectively we’re spending taxpayer dollars,” NIST Trusted Identities Group director Mike Garcia said. “Ultimately, we expect that these independent assessments of pilot projects will help us — the identity community — understand the most successful technologies and approaches and improve decision making for anyone looking to invest in identity solutions.”

The pilots to be assessed include:

  • A Florida Department of Revenue child support program designed to increase service availability through a unified login system.
  • A pilot operating in Colorado and Wisconsin led by authentication firm Yubico that aims to create an “identify toolkit” to ease future deployments around the country.
  • The Ohio Department of Administrative Services is implementing a multi-factor authentication system to build stronger security around online services including e-licensing, online filing and payments for businesses, and tax-related transactions.
  • A digital drivers license pilot is being led by Gemalto and the departments of motor vehicles in Idaho, Maryland, Washington, Colorado, and Washington D.C.
  • — a service that began its life serving military and military veterans as TroopID — works with retail organizations to provide consumers an all-in-one solution for identity management and authentication. With about one million users, the service is now being tested in the City of Austin and the State of Maine.

NIST’s interest in identity management systems coincides with interest from many state and local government IT leaders who can be increasingly heard using phrases like “citizen-centric government.” Consolidating and optimizing services is listed as No. 2 on the National Association of State Chief Information Officer’s list of top CIO priorities for 2017.

Many agencies have experimented or launched new authentication or identity management systems in various capacities in recent years, and North Carolina’s deputy chief information officer Tracy Doaks told StateScoop last year that now is the time to look at “the next generation” of identity technologies and seek a “refresh” for the sake of citizens and customers.

An applicant’s webinar will be held by NIST on March 28.

The deadline for vendor applications is May 9.

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