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SK Annual Conference 2022: Smart-ID, sustainability, and the digi-future

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Congratulations are in order for SK ID Solutions as the company celebrates 5 years of the Smart-ID. Did you know that the Smart-ID was initially meant to be called Cross-ID? This was revealed at the 13th SK Annual Conference which took place last week Thursday, 3rd of November 2022 with +350 registered participants online and at the Apollo Cinema in Ülemiste Centre, Tallinn.

As per SK ID Solutions’ tradition, the annual conference was to take a look at SK ID Solutions’ digital adventures during the passing year, the current state of the eID world, and the future of digital identification and smart identity solutions. However, this year’s conference was even more special because it was the 5th year of the Smart-ID’s existence. 

In just five years, the Smart-ID has become an integral part of the digital society infrastructure of not just Estonia but also other nations. For instance, if you are one of the Smart-ID’s over 600K users in Estonia, 1M users in Latvia, or 1.5M in Lithuania, you probably cannot remember or imagine a time without this solution for accessing numerous public and private sector digital environments, authenticating transactions, and appending digital signatures. 

Learning resilience through comedy

The conference was kick-started with opening words by Liisa Lukin, SK ID Solutions’ COO, and Kalev Pihl, the CEO, who warmly welcomed the participants and gave a brief overview of the agenda for the day. Following this, Stuart Goldsmith took the stage reconciling ‘Comedy and Resilience.’

The typical e-Estonian might readily think of digital resilience and Estonia’s adept ability to bounce back better and stronger from crises like the 2007 cyber attacks on Estonia. However, comedian Stuart showed how resilience could be applied to everything, from stand-up comedy to our personal and professional lives. And yes, he was funny!

Concluding his session, he said, “resilience is learnable. It’s learned best through times of struggle. When the going gets tough, that’s when you roll up your sleeves and say ‘this is an opportunity to cultivate my resilience.’ That’s when you get it right.” This came after he explained how he handled some of the most difficult situations he has faced since his career as a comedian.

Towards a greener planet

Following Stuart’s session, Kalev provided insight into SK ID Solutions’ ecological footprint. It was great to see the steps SK ID Solutions is taking towards environmental sustainability, as well as to know their digital solutions’ impact on the planet. One of the somewhat bold takeaways, as he called it, of his presentation was that a physical visit to an office for any transaction that could have been carried out online is equal to thousands of authentications and digital signatures. He then implored everyone with access to the eID tool to “use it and help save the planet.”

Goda Raibyte, a Science Journalist, and Mairita Lūse an Environmental Activist and Councillor in the Riga City Council, Latvia, individually took the stage to educate on “Sustainability Delusion: Why Do We Need Critical Thinking?” and “What is Greenwashing and How to Avoid It.” Truly insightful were their sessions. 

A major takeaway from their sessions is that people need to learn to discern facts and what’s genuine from sensationalistic information and reports, propaganda, and greenwashed marketing endeavours. They concluded that sustainability is a product of actual action – individual, collective and systemic action – but that systemic action would always have the most impact.

5 years of the Smart-ID

It is hard picking a particular moment as the highlight of the conference because all the sessions retained the initial momentum. However, the panel discussing the last five years of the Smart-ID and its future, with Aivo Kalu, Urmo Keskel, Mart Oruaas, Andres Kütt, and Kalevi Tammistu as members of the panel and Jaan Murumets as moderator, was delightful. 

It seems just yesterday that the Information System Authority (RIA) announced that they had signed a contract with SK ID Solutions to adopt the Smart-ID for state e-services. Since then, the tool has become widely adopted by the Baltic states and enterprise clients like LHV, Swedbank, Funderbeam, and Monestro. During the panel, it was also revealed that the tool is already in the adoption and pre-adoption phases for countries such as India, Iceland and Barbados. 

Likewise, they noted that the solution will be upgraded and see the addition of some new features because, well, ‘good better best never let it rest.’ According to the panel, we can expect more from SK ID Solutions and the Smart-ID in the coming years. Among other things, they also discussed the European digital identity wallet  as well as possible challenges and opportunities that exist within this framework. 

SK: the here and now and the future

During the final session, Piruza Harutjunjan, SK ID Solutions’ Head of Business Services took us down memory lane of SK’s growth, accomplishments, and breakthroughs over the last couple of years with an emphasis on Smart-ID’s. It was revealed that the Smart-ID won a joint 5-6th place as a favourite brand in Estonia in 2022. Even more deserving of accolades was the fact that the Mobile-ID and Smart-ID have both served users well about 99% of the time with the less than 1% being times of outages due to maintenance and upgrades.

Piruza also discussed the numerous opportunities that exist for SK within and beyond Europe and the plans to seize them. Following this, Liisa Lukin, Kalev Pihl, and Stuart Goldsmith recapped the events and highlights of the day.

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