Janrain launches Identity Groups for consumers

The new offering lets an account owner invite others to set up access-limited profiles -- without surrendering the master password.

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Identity Management

Janrain took another step this week to go beyond its origins as a provider of social sign-ons.

The consumer identity management provider launched its Identity Groups, which allow device and account owners to set up their own private groups, with various levels of access.

Essentially, it’s a kind of consumer-controlled version of Microsoft’s Active Directory. Director of Product Marketing Sven Dummer told me that, as far as his company is aware, this is the first service that gives end users the ability to set up and manage their own identity groups across any subscribing device or service.

In a typical use case, the owner of a home alarm system could give varying levels of access to other family members, as well as the alarm system repair service and a handyman who makes monthly visits.

The owner of a connected car might let each family member set up his or her own profile, each with limited access to car functions. A pet owner might set up an account offered by a maker of pet supplies and then grant different kinds of access to other family members, the dog sitter and the veterinarian.

Dummer noted that the choices made by each profile user could help that device maker or service provider better market to the user. The maker of pet supplies, for instance, could see that the family account owner and the vet regularly order iron supplements for the family dog, so a discount on those products can be offered.

He added that consumer data privacy would be up to the given device maker or service provider and that Janrain would accommodate any requirements.

No password exchange

Similar kinds of groups exist in, say, Netflix, where each family member can add his or her own profile and movie choices on the family account. The key difference, Dummer said, is that existing identity groups require the account owner to share the username and password, which, of course, compromises the account security.

Instead, Identity Groups lets the account owner set up access controls for other users on the same account, and then send emails to invite those users to set up their own profiles. No username/password is exchanged, and the other users set up their own logon credentials.

While Janrain offers a set of standardized access levels and related functions, each Identity Group is customized for the device maker or service provider. If a carmaker, for instance, wanted to let the car owner provide different speed limit caps to teen drivers in the family, Janrain would work out the necessary support with the carmaker.

Although Janrain has not yet announced clients who are using Identity Groups, it otherwise manages about 1.5 billion digital identities for 3,400 brands that include Pzifer, Samsung, Whole Foods, McDonalds and Dr Pepper.

In September, Janrain announced an Advanced Policy Manager with data access and governance provider Symphonic Software, allowing brands to centrally control access to data across its sites and apps. In June, it launched one of the first portals for managing consumer data in compliance with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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