Identity Live: On Tour in Austin

A couple of weeks ago we took the band to Austin for the first stop of Identity Live, our global summit series. We had a great group of customers, prospects, and partners who all came to hear the latest on customer identity, privacy and consent, the internet of things, and other topics critical to digital business. Identity Live was hosted at the iconic Moody Theater at ACL Live...really, was there any other place we could have chosen in the Live Music Capital of the World? For two days, we were treated to thought-provoking presentations, demos, and panels from experts, analysts, and identity practitioners.

As a musician, it was a special experience to present from the same stage where so many great artists have played. I kicked things off by talking about the history of identity, where it’s come from, where it’s going, and how ForgeRock is leading the way. This included exciting developments involving our latest product, ForgeRock Edge Security, to secure the IoT and innovative customer deployments that are pushing the envelope around customer experience, omnichannel, and identity-enabled things.

Too many highlights to recap them all, but here are few that stand out….

Stacey Higginbotham, noted IoT journalist, gave an interesting talk dubbed “We Know What You Did Last Summer (and Last Night)”. Using the example of her home that’s filled with all sorts of smart devices, Stacey walked us through the future – a world where everything’s connected to the internet, and the unsettling lack of privacy that it seems to offer. If companies don’t build privacy into the foundation of their apps and connected things, personal data may be at risk. Luckily, at ForgeRock, we’re trying to solve that problem with privacy and consent tools like user-managed access (UMA) that give consumers control over their personal data.

We had a fascinating conversation with Luke Wilson, actor, writer, and producer, that also touched on identity and the internet of things. Known for movies like The Royal Tenenbaums, Old School, and Legally Blonde, Luke talked a bit about life as a celebrity and what that means for his privacy...there’s very little! To everyday citizens who are feeling the pressure of being monitored and tracked by businesses and government, Luke says: welcome to my life. Ruminating on what the increasing digitization of daily living means to him, Luke shared jokingly that if he ever got a connected fridge, TMZ would somehow figure out a way in and tell the world that all he has in his fridge is Velveeta cheese and a bottle of Ripple.

Chiara Rustici, independent GDPR analyst, put on an entertaining, PowerPoint-free presentation on “Why the GDPR is the Digital Economy’s New Rock and Roll.” Using several ForgeRockers as props, Chiara explained the basics of GDPR and why any company that does any kind of business in Europe needs to comply with the upcoming regulation. Respecting customer privacy and consent is critical to GDPR compliance and those that fail face significant financial penalties.

We also talked with tech legend and one of our earliest advisors, Scott McNealy. Scott is always a fun interview and we discussed the role of identity in customer experience, privacy (you know Scott’s favorite line on that one…), and the future of digital business.


To dive deeper into the topic of privacy, we held a panel discussion, “The Evolving Role of Privacy in Digital Transformation,” featuring Chiara; Merritt Maxim, Senior Analyst, Forrester; and Eve Maler, VP Innovation and Emerging Technology, ForgeRock; and moderated by Neil Chapman, EVP Industries, ForgeRock. The panelists debated how privacy will change the way digital organizations do business, particularly focusing on the impact of the GDPR and other privacy regulations.

We also had a spirited panel on “IoT, the Next Big Thing.” I moderated as Lasse Andresen, CTO, ForgeRock; Stacey Higginbotham, IoT Journalist; and Andy Rhodes, VP and GM, IoT at Dell Technologies; discussed the merits, challenges, and new opportunities that come with IoT in areas like security, privacy, and customer experience. With so many different applications of IoT, from consumer devices to industrial connected things operating at the edge, we’re very excited to be leading the way in offering digital identity solutions for this developing ecosystem


We had a couple of exciting demos, the first by Chris Kawalek, Director, Product Marketing, and John Kimble, Distinguished Customer Engineer, ForgeRock. In the session called “Securing Customer Interaction, Anytime, Anywhere”, the duo showed us a digital banking demo using digital identity and push notifications to securely transfer money from your bank account using Amazon Alexa. Voice is the UI of the future and with Alexa currently holding 70% of market share for voice assistants, it’s clearly going to play a major role in the future of financial services as well.

For our other demo, Daniel Raskin, SVP Product Management, ForgeRock talked about how “Identity Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear.” Daniel discussed microservices, IoT, edge computing, and other areas that you might not think would involve identity, but 100% do. This is the future of identity, and ForgeRock is ready to help with a complete identity platform, not just for your current customer identity needs, but for future IoT initiatives as well.

To show how it all fits together, Daniel and a few of our excellent customer engineers ran the “Donut Demo,” using digital identity along with push notifications and a beacon-enabled donut truck to seamlessly order donuts based on preset preferences and geolocation. The demo illustrated how digital identity can power new, engaging customer experiences if you think outside of the box. At the end they handed out Voodoo Donuts to the interesting demo for both mind and body!

Some other great presentations that we saw:

  • Cox Communications Case Study: Balancing User Experience and Security
    • Stuart Keener, Director of Technology, Cox Communications and Brian Mozinski, Director, IT, Security, Privacy, and Risk, at PwC
      • Stuart and Brian explained the ForgeRock deployment at Cox and how they were able to set up a user friendly corporate portal that worked for both those in the office and out in the field.
  • Macy’s Case Study: How to Rock Password Reset Portals
    • Chad Cromwell, Director of Enterprise Identity Technology, Macy’s and Alexander Bolante, Partner, Deloitte
      • Chad and Alex covered how they used ForgeRock to move password reset portals to self-service, significantly reducing help desk costs, increasing efficiency, and improving customer experience.
  • The Business Ecosystem as a Neighborhood. Who Do You Know...and Trust?
    • Lisa O’Connor, Global Security R&D Lead, Accenture Technology Labs
      • Lisa spoke about securing the digital business and identity’s role in the complex cybersecurity equation. Lots of great information about a serious, board-level issue that you overlook at your own peril.
  • Identity Platforms beyond the Backend: An Opportunity to Monetize Digital Customer Relationships
    • Daniel Raskin, SVP Product Management and Neil Chapman, EVP Industries, ForgeRock
      • In this fireside chat, Daniel and Neil discussed the great potential of digital identity, its evolution beyond traditional, employee use cases and why it’s important to think big.
  • The Future of Identity...Cars, Drones, and You
    • Ashley Stevenson, Identity Technology Director, ForgeRock
      • Ashley explored the rise connected and autonomous cars and the way digital identity fits into the automotive ecosystem. Automakers predict that the majority of their revenue will come from in-car services in the next few decades, not actual manufacturing, and digital identity will be key for personalization and omnichannel initiatives. These trends are very exciting for us as we’ve partnered with Automotive Grade Linux to deliver digital identity to the car. Ashley also discussed drones and other new connected devices that will require identity for security. Digital identity is being used in new ways all the time.The future is here and it’s identity enabled.

After lunch on Day 1, we were also treated to a couple of songs from blues star Jimmie Vaughan before he invited the crowd to our evening cocktail party. What a treat. Then to kick off the evening, Chris Kawalek came back on stage to play some great tunes with his band. I’m always so impressed by the talents of ForgeRockers outside of work and Chris truly rocked it. An Austin local, he opened for Jimmie and noted blues musician, Johnny Nicholas. I had the incredible opportunity to join Jimmie up on stage to play a few’s an experience I’ll never forget! The evening was a great chance to talk with different attendees to learn how ForgeRock can continue to support and further their innovative digital identity projects.

Thanks for rocking with us in Austin! If you’re located outside of the U.S., I encourage you to make it to one of our other Identity Live stops in Düsseldorf, Sydney, London or Paris. If you’re interested in more technical content, we’ll also be hosting “UnSummits” in Sydney, Singapore, and New York City. And for the federally minded, don’t miss the U.S. Federal Summit in Washington D.C. this October. You can find more details on the Identity Live page. We’ve also added select presentations to Slideshare, the best tweets are over on Storify, and some cool photos taken by our own Ludo Poitou are on Flickr . Stay tuned for videos of the presentations and panels!

Mike Ellis is Chairman and CEO at ForgeRock. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeEllis100