Innovation competition based on the "Development of digital technologies" funding framework

In the modern world, digital identities are an essential requirement for a functioning economy. Almost all economic or administrative processes require the identification of a person or object. Digital identities have thus become the entry point to modern digital administrative and economic processes.

The "Secure Digital Identities” showcase aims to develop German eIDAS solutions, which are equally user-friendly, trustworthy and cost-efficient and to make these solutions easily accessible for administration, businesses - especially SMEs - and the population. In Germany, none of the existing eID solutions has so far been able to achieve the critical mass needed for a broad application. This is to be achieved through showcases in which technology providers and local authorities work closely together. The implementation is to be practically tested in numerous use cases with relevance to everyday life. Citizens are to be involved in the development of the solutions.

With this innovation competition, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) is directly contributing to Germany’s digital sovereignty and data security on the Internet. The measure aims to strengthen the confidence of citizens and companies in digital transformation. The envisaged proposals should also be aligned with the needs and opportunities of small and medium-sized enterprises and enable them to implement and use Secure Digital Identities.

The innovation competition is divided into two phases:

1. Competition phase (June to November 2020).

The aim of the Competition Phase was to develop convincing concept ideas for the Showcase Program Secure Digital Identities and to substantiate them in terms of feasibility to identify obstacles and to create conditions for a fast and efficient implementation of the concept idea in a subsequent implementation phase.
During the competition phase, 11 selected projects had the opportunity to develop detailed roadmaps for implementing their concept idea and forming powerful partnerships. Two projects merged during the competition phase, so that at the end of the phase, ten concepts were submitted and evaluated by a jury of experts.

2. Implementation phase (from April 2021 to the end of 2024)

Since April 2021, the four most promising projects of the competition phase have the opportunity to practically implement and test their projects until the end of 2024. The projects pursue the goal of achieving outstanding approaches for new interoperable ID ecosystems in which users can digitally identify themselves to service providers or authorities in everyday life with their smartphones.

To this end, digital identities are being tested in over 100 use cases in different regions in Germany and used by the population on a trial basis. The special feature of the showcase program is that, unlike comparable projects, it brings all stakeholders to the same table:
Private industry, identity service providers, municipalities and, last but not least, citizens. Special attention is paid to interoperability, both within a project and between the four showcase projects.
The Showcase Program Secure Digital Identities addresses not only the technologies needed to implement the Online Access Act (Onlinezugangsgesetz, OZG) or the digital use of government services in general. It goes one step further and integrates all other services from the everyday lives of citizens and makes them practically usable.
To this end, secure, trustworthy, user-friendly solutions are to be developed by 2024 that safeguard the digital sovereignty of citizens and thus also of the state.