What excites me the most about being part of the team at IBM is the work we do for our clients that truly makes a difference in individual lives and provides for smarter and safer interactions with each other and our planet. The urgency to reopen all areas of the economy safely as we navigate the global pandemic is a recent example. People are eager to get back to gathering with others and doing all the things that are part of daily life — from going to the office, restaurants, sporting events and concerts, to traveling within the U.S. and abroad. So, they need an easy, trusted way to show proof of vaccination.
That’s why I’m so excited to share with you that recently we were privileged to be part of a First-of-a-Kind partnership that launched Excelsior Pass Plus across the state of New York to support the safe and secure return of tourism and commerce to New York.
Trusted proof of vaccination
Excelsior Pass Plus expands travel and commerce opportunities for New Yorkers by enabling compatibility with New York State’s Excelsior Pass platform which has generated three million passes since its launch in March that provide digital proof of vaccination or a negative test result. New Yorkers will be able to display their Excelsior Pass Plus at hundreds of businesses and locations. This includes Broadway theatres, Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Yankee Stadium, and many other major venues that require proof of vaccination, as well as when traveling to areas where SMART Health Cards are accepted.
Excelsior Pass Plus is a result of the strategic partnership between New York State and a coalition of public and private organizations which will enable New Yorkers to safely access and retrieve a verifiable, secure digital copy of their COVID-19 vaccination record using the SMART Health Cards Framework — making their interstate and international travel and commerce experiences safer, contactless and more seamless.
Digital credentials with blockchain
Health credentials — another term for “health cards” or “health pass” — are easier for everyone to work with when they’re digital and there’s no worry of damaging, tampering with or losing a paper card. Perhaps an even more compelling reason to go digital is the recent rise in fraudulent vaccination cards being intercepted by U.S. federal agents. Digital credentials are the answer — but this highly personal information has to remain private and secure. So, organizations are turning to blockchain as a proven way to enable a secure and trusted digital credentials platform and improve services.
New York State’s Excelsior Pass Plus leverages IBM Digital Health Pass powered by IBM Digital Credentials, a blockchain-based platform that anchors digital credentials in trust and provides individuals and organizations with the core capabilities they need to securely issue, manage and verify digital credentials. Proof of vaccination or a negative test result is auditable, traceable and verifiable — in seconds. Protecting their privacy, individuals remain in control of their own personal data that they store in an encrypted wallet on their smartphone and share, at their choosing, with an organization through a secure QR code as trustworthy proof of health status.
New Yorkers now have a better way to move forward and do what’s important to them, with confidence their credentials are safe and valid. Meanwhile, the open, secure architecture of IBM Digital Credentials allows other states to join the effort based on their own criteria for ultimate flexibility and interoperability. The result? A foundational platform to help create a secure and interwoven ecosystem enabling governments, businesses and people nationwide to get back to business smarter, and safer.