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Estonia and Iceland: a tale of innovation and collaboration in digital identity

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In the ever-evolving landscape of digital identity solutions, the collaborative journey between SK ID Solutions from Estonia and Auðkenni from Iceland has not only addressed complex challenges but has also accelerated the digital transformation of the two nations. With a combined experience of over 40 years in electronic identity, these two companies have showcased the power of enduring relationships and innovative solutions. Let’s explore how one groundbreaking solution, Smart-ID, seamlessly delivered electronic identities to Estonia and Iceland.

The Estonian chapter and the Icelandic Odyssey

SK ID Solutions, an industry leader in electronic identity, has supported the Estonian government for over two decades. With services ranging from authentication and signing certificates to the widely adopted Mobile-ID and Smart-ID solutions, SK ID Solutions has played a vital role in the lives of over 4 million people in the Baltic countries.

Auðkenni, a private Icelandic company turned government-owned entity, embarked on a transformative journey with SK ID Solutions in 2005. As of 2024, over 94% of Iceland’s population utilises Auðkenni’s diverse authentication and signing services, reflecting the company’s evolution into a trusted entity for Icelandic residents.

Challenges led to successful integration

Auðkenni’s history includes the introduction of Mobile-ID in 2012, a SIM card-based solution that met stringent security standards. However, challenges arose in 2016, leading to the upgrade of Mobile ID to the European Union’s highest security level, QSCD. The search for a tool independent of SIM cards that could provide the same level of trust and security became a crucial question.

This journey led to the birth of Smart-ID in Estonia, a mobile application-based electronic identity tool upgraded to QSCD level in 2018. Auðkenni, recognising the need to break free from dependence on mobile operators and SIM card vendors, decided to implement Smart-ID technology to address these challenges.

The integration work began in 2020, and by 2021, Smart-ID was seamlessly integrated into Auðkenni’s identity app in Iceland. The Auðkenni app has witnessed a remarkable rise in popularity, earning the trust of banks, major Icelandic companies, and the public sector. Active accounts tripled in the first year, showcasing the solution’s user-friendly and trustworthy nature.

Auðkenni’s strategic move

In 2019, Auðkenni initiated discussions with SK to explore opportunities for accelerating digital advancements among Icelandic citizens using Smart-ID. The comprehensive business validation stage ensured the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed model. Auðkenni’s strategic objective was to establish a local certification authority, leading to the development of a white-labelled version of Smart-ID named Auokenni.

Following successful implementation, Auðkenni enabled thousands of Icelandic citizens to engage in secure digital transactions. Recognising the value and impact, the state decided to acquire Auðkenni, enhancing citizens’ trust and confidence in the platform.

Iceland’s unique business environment

With its Nordic island charm and strategic focus on renewable energy, Iceland offers a unique business environment that combines natural resources, sustainability, and a growing international appeal. The collaboration between SK ID Solutions and Auðkenni aligns seamlessly with Iceland’s commitment to innovation.

Auðkenni’s journey, intertwined with SK ID Solutions, exemplifies the power of enduring collaborations in addressing complex challenges. The implementation of Smart-ID technology showcases how modern solutions can empower nations to build secure and trustworthy tools recognised by major international organisations such as the European Union. Celebrating the success of Smart-ID in Estonia and Iceland underscores the importance of partnerships in driving digital innovation and transforming the digital landscape for the better.

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