The names of Ootao and Andy Dale come up a lot when you’re looking at the identity landscape, but if you look at either of their sites, it’s pretty hard to understand why. Further Andy Dale’s got a British accent, came to the Bay area from Israel, and pronounces his company’s name “Ew’ Dow”. Pretty mysterious stuff indeed! Look a little deeper though, and you’ll find one of the most practical and passionate implementors of real world identity technologies, particularly those surrounding XRI/XDI.
Andy and Ootao (Andy is VERY quick to mention that it is a team effort) are the enterprise guys who can actually build real life, highly scalable services in the identity space. Go to an iBroker? Chances are it’s running off of Ootao’s infrastructure. Heard about Plaxo’s OpenID implementation plans? Ootao’s there too. One of Ootao’s most ambitious projects to date is an XRI/XDI implementation they’ve done for the La Leche League (an organization that promotes breastfeeding). This may sound like a strange combination, but not if you understand LLLI’s needs and what XRI/XDI are great at. LLLI wants new mothers to be able to self-organize into communities around the world. Spontaneous self-organization requires people to have both a strong personal identity AND the ability to share aspects of that identity selectively. If you remember back to my post about XRI/XDI, establishing these granular trust relationships is exactly what XRI/XDI are great at.
Talk to Andy though, and LLLI is just the beginning. Ootao has created a new services company called Wingaa (great name, great logo, TERRIBLE user interface on their site!). It takes some digging, but essentially Wingaa is offering a suite of services to Registrars that enables them to turn your newly purchased URL into you Identity Hub. Want your URL to be your OpenID address? Done. Want your home page to be your personal iName contact page? Done. Want to access all your identity related accounts (Linked In, Facebook, Blog, etc.) at a single URL? Done. And Ootao is doing this the right way by building the INFRASTRUCTURE and allowing the companies that already have a relationship the person enhance that relationship using their tools.
As I wrote in my first post about the identity movement, one of its greatest strengths is it’s idealistic roots. This has also been an Achilles’ heel though, as it’s struggled to build out the necessary technologies and find viable business models. The people of Ootao come out of the enterprise and are implementors at heart. Because of their unique mindset they have played and will continue to play an important role in the ever evolving identity landscape.