AAI stands for Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructure. This infrastructure makes it easier to access online resources within the Swiss academic community. Whereas members of one university used to need additional digital identities for other universities, these days they only need a single identity. The AAI login they receive from their university is their passport to almost all the resources made available on the web by Swiss universities and related organisations. The people in charge of these resources decide which identities they are available to.
SWITCHaai is a real success story. What began as an idea in 1999 and entered productive operation in 2005 soon became a national standard with widespread support among universities and related organisations. SWITCH's technological initiative made a substantial contribution to breaking down administrative barriers in the academic community and encouraging knowledge transfer throughout the country. After being implemented so successfully here in Switzerland, the project has attracted a lot of interest internationally. More and more countries around the world are constructing and developing similar infrastructures. SWITCH is participating in eduGAIN to create a worldwide academic passport.
Some people want to continue using certain academic services, such as SWITCHportfolio, after their studies, and this makes sense. To ensure that they can do so, SWITCH is already taking the lead in the development of a next-generation solution. The Swiss edu-ID project aims to give university members a lifelong account that allows them to use academic IT services whenever they need them, even after they have left the university.