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meBusiness: Convenience, Choice and Control through digitalme

Articles and Tips: article

01 Jan 2000

Provides a technical overview of the latest technology for personal empowerment on the Web-Novell's digitalme. With digitalme, Novell is breaking through on-line information barriers by offering a solution that allows Web users to create and manage their own digital identity. digitalme gives Web users the ability to customize their virtual handprint to outside organizations-including e-commerce and e-services sites-requiring these organizations to do business on the user's terms, changing the focus of e-business to "meBusiness."


As more and more on-line information continues to bury today's Internet users, a developing need for a dynamic, automated personal identity manager is surfacing within the market. Today's Internet sites are gathering consumer information at an unprecedented rate through cookies, registration forms, and questionnaires.

Organizations are also recognizing the need to establish an audience profile and are occasionally taking extreme measures to ensure market understanding and success. With all of this competition, organizations are tracking everything from names and addresses to personal preferences in books and music all the way to highly sensitive information such as personal financial data and medical records.

Use of the Internet along with e-commerce is growing at an unprecedented rate and will continue to accelerate. According to IDC, 150 million devices are now accessing the Web and, by 2003, the number will grow to more than 720 million. They also project that total on-line commerce will grow from $50 billion in 1998 to a projected $1.3 trillion in 2003 (IDC).

To rise above this building challenge, Novell introduces the latest technology for personal empowerment on the Web digitalme.

With digitalme, Novell is breaking through on-line information barriers by offering a solution that allows Web users to create and manage their own digital identity. digitalme gives Web users the ability to customize their virtual handprint to outside organizations including e-commerce and e-services sites requiring these organizations to do business on the user's terms, changing the focus of e-business to meBusiness. By focusing on meBusiness, organizations can orient their products and services to an individual consumer on a personal level. Moving from e-business to meBusiness provides better business to consumer relationships through convenience, choice and control.

Target Audience: Empowering the Individual

In a recent BusinessWeek/Harris Poll, 77% of current Internet users indicated that they had not purchased anything on-line. Of these non-buyers, 86% cited privacy fear as the most important reason for their restraint. digitalme addresses this concern by greatly enhancing the on-line experience in four major ways:


The user determines who sees the information and how much information is shared within a transaction. digitalme keeps users apprised of when and how their personal information is being used. Using personal information stored in an ultra-secure, private directory, digitalme provides automatic Web site sign-on capability that eliminates the need for multiple passwords. As soon as a digitalme user elects to register with a new site, a personal proxy system intercepts the necessary form, automatically filling it out, and then providing the completed form for review. The next time the user accesses that site, digitalme automatically handles the entire sign-on process.


The user can create different views, or profiles, of personal information for specific recipients of that information. digitalme also stores multiple profiles, or "meCards" and allows for instant messaging based on a specific profile. This instant messaging feature allows users to engage in on-screen conversations with one another.


The user enters the information in to the browser-based application once and uses it at any time, from anywhere over the Internet. The accessible information includes contact information, personal preferences, bookmarks, etc. For example, with the digitalme dynamic address book, today's business travelers can create entries that can be updated and accessed from their laptops, palm pilots, or other devices.


The user no longer has to remember several passwords and usernames, fill out multiple registration forms, or constantly update personal information. And digitalme-enabled businesses are free from having to keep track of customer information since users do all of the information maintenance.

digitalme is designed for a wide range of users, from the casual Web surfer to the professional business traveler. Anyone who uses the Web will benefit from digitalme. It's designed to empower individuals by providing personal information controls. These controls allow individuals to decide who gets their personal information and whether they want to foster or terminate a particular on-line relationship.

Technical Overview: What is digitalme?

digitalme is the next generation of personal empowerment on the Web to help Internet users control their personal information on-line, access favorite Web sites through a single password, fill-in web forms automatically, and create a digital address books that can be updated and accessed from a number of Web devices.

digitalme allows users to view, enter and update personal information through a browser anywhere at any time. Using Java servlets on a Web server, digitalme takes advantage of technology creating a "zero byte" client application that generates Web pages on-the-fly. It is designed to give Web users an extremely powerful, swift advantage. Server-side scripting makes this product not only powerful, but fast and seamless.

From the very beginning, digitalme was designed to leverage open standards to ensure a platform-independent product. digitalme consists of client and server technologies that are based on open standards, including Java, XML, Win32, ActiveX, browser, and directory protocols. Novell has developed a Web-centered tool that utilizes XML for interconnection, affording limitless compatibility of stored data. This product is based on NDS, allowing stored information to be accessed via LDAP.

Concepts and Features of digitalme: Getting Inside the Box

digitalme is a robust Web-based tool developed to make sure all information gathering is consented to. It is composed of five basic elements that work together to ensure protection and control for the individual. These elements include meCards, a dynamic address book, a Web form manager, an identity manager and an account manager.

meCards: Personalizing Design and Identity

Like business cards, meCards contain personal identification information that a user can creatively design and share with family, friends, businesses, service providers, etc. With the Card Design feature, the user can create an original design or choose from a number of existing designs. Each meCard is tailored for a specific audience with information appropriate only for that audience. For example, a user may create a meCard for family and friends that reflects more casual, personal and detailed information; whereas, the same user may want a different meCard to pass on to on-line merchants and service providers, ensuring better leverage in business relationships. With digitalme, the individual has the ability to control one-time or long-term Web relationships.

Community Center: Dynamic Address Book

This feature works like an electronic address book, keeping contact information at the user's fingertips. Family, friends and business contacts can be added to the contact list at any time, anywhere. This innovative feature keeps all of the user's personal information current and always available through the Web. Getting important contacts to join digitalme, the user creates a self-updating information network. The user can transfer information to and from PC-based contact managers, palm devices or most other Web devices currently on the market. The dynamic address book also keeps information current since data is dynamically updated.

Web Center: Form Filler and Form Recall

This feature takes the tedious work out of filling in Web forms by allowing users to automate information delivery. The user can download a full-featured plug-in that can record registration information on-the-fly. When a user encounters a registration form or login screen, the Web center offers a list of meCards (previously created) and automatically fills in the form based on the card selected. With these features, users never have to worry about forgetting a password or filling out the same form again. Once downloaded, a user can access this tool right from the browser toolbar.

My Information: Identity Manager

This comprehensive tool allows users to create and update their complete digital identity, or Master ID, containing more than 120 fields of personal information ranging from shoe size to favorite color. Once entered, this information is stored on a private, secure NDS identity server. The Master ID then can be used to quickly and easily create meCards. With digitalme, users can rest easy that their digital identity is safe and secure and is under their full control. The power of digitalme makes any modifications to the user's Master ID reflect other meCards in the virtual world. Friends, family and business contacts using digitalme are automatically notified of any changes.

Account Manager: Controller

With digitalme, the user is always in control. The account manager feature allows users to change their passwords as often as they like. Users also can delete an account and all of the information associated with it.

NDS Technology

digitalme is based on Novell Directory Services (NDS), Novell's field-proven directory technology. Novell is taking its core competencies and moving them to the Internet. Identity management is the first of the "in the net" technologies to be delivered. As an industry leader in networking and Internet technologies, Novell is keenly aware of the need for a better way to manage and control on-line identities. Novell's digitalme will change the way people work with the Internet in fundamental ways. The value of the Internet is not just its ability to scale up to millions of users, but to empower those users on a personal level. digitalme does this by taming the Internet and providing a familiar, easy-to-use identity manager backed by the power of NDS technology.

The Role of E-business in meBusiness

digitalme gives the business world an easy method to generate greater intimacy with its customers. In the long run, this will allow businesses to better serve their customers in more personal ways, deliver the value and differentiate themselves from the competition. This technology spurs the need to exploit the power of one-to-one marketing via dynamic content presentation, tailored messaging and product offers, intelligent referrals and products recommendations, and myriad other ways to individually serve customers.

Novell's Internet Focus

With the information revolution clearly underway, the volume of on-line transactions continues to expand. However, two areas of concern are hampering growth to some degree. One is the concern people have about access to personal information. The other is the hassle associated with remembering multiple IDs and passwords and the need to enter the same information repeatedly to conduct on-line transactions.

With the emergence of digitalme technology, these concerns are quickly being put to rest. Novell's digitalme gives Web users full control over their on-line identities and makes it easier and faster to conduct virtual business. This exciting new technology will spur the growth of meBusiness and make on-line transactions available to a much broader audience.

Novell's digitalme is the premier digital technology and is directory-based, offering a comprehensive, secure, and easy means of creating, managing, and controlling on-line identities. It brings the powerful relationship tracking capabilities of NDS to the world of the Internet, and gives people a coherent, straightforward way of managing who they are on-line. Bottom line: digitalme simplifies on-line life and makes the Internet a friendlier, easier place.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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