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Federations on their way into the future – a view from Switzerland

15 years ago, SWITCH toook its first steps into the uncharted territories of federated identity management for academia. In the backpack: little experience, great enthusiasm, and the multifunctional Swiss army knife known as “Shibboleth”. Today, we are still on the hike but with a fully functional and heavily-used identity federation accompanying us. It currently includes all higher education organisations in Switzerland and more than 1,200 services that their users can access via the SWITCHaai federation. On top of this, an additional 1,900 international services are available via eduGAIN, to which our users have been connected since eduGAIN’s launch in 2011.

Even though we have gained quite some height in these 15 years, we are still far away from the summit. And we sometimes ask ourselves, in which direction should we travel next, what opportunities will the future guide us to, and how will the federation landscape look 15 years from now? In this REFEDS blog, I present three highly speculative scenarios and I look forward to hearing your opinion on the future of federations.

Submitted by Lukas Haemmerle

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