The blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows reliable exchanges through the internet, without reliance on an independent authority. A shared record is distributed using a consensus to every participant in a network, validating transactions and removing the requirement for third-party integrations. This means that the blockchain can create secure digital transactions complete with proof of ownership.
If you’ve heard of blockchain before, it’s likely that your knowledge comes from an insight into its role within the management of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. However, over the last year or so, the applications of the blockchain have been expanding, and today, it may even have a role to play in our telecommunications.
How Telecommunications Can Benefit from The Blockchain
Today’s telecommunication operators are facing greater competition and increasing challenges within the marketplace. That means that everyone needs to find a new way of minimising costs, and enhancing revenue if they want to succeed. When it comes to performance, the blockchain has a lot to offer, including better trust and transparency. The distributed nature of the blockchain means that there are no single points of failure, no worries about hacking attacks, and no stress caused by control from a single entity.
Additionally, the blockchain’s distributed position means that there’s no need for expensive infrastructure or third-party intermediaries. The speed of exchanges between people is increased, and the system is more secure too because cryptography and digital signatures are accessed to prove identities. Because every block is linked to another block, it’s almost impossible to change records or alter the history of the chain.
So, what are some of the ways we could use this technology in telecommunications?
The Blockchain and IoT
The internet of things has recently emerged as a trending topic in the communication industry. While it presents a lot of opportunities, it also represents numerous challenges in the need to secure interactions among machines and sensors. On top of that, the information gathered by IoT devices needs to be secured too.
The decentralised nature of the Blockchain means that IoT security can be accessed on a more scalable level, with inherent capabilities for validation and verification that stop rogue devices from disrupting situations with false information. Although the blockchain isn’t the only way to create a more secure environment for IoT, it could be a key player in the future of this technology.
The Blockchain and Identity Management
A telecommunications company could access the benefits of blockchain identity management to enhance their services, and deliver better solutions to their partners. Blockchain technology can apply identity authentication strategies across a range of organisations, applications, and devices, removing the need for users to select separate passwords for their accounts. A user could instead access all their services through a master key.
A project called ID2020 has already been established by the UN, which will be a public and private partnership designed to give identity services to up to 1.1 billion people now living without a recognised identity. The goal of this process is to use the blockchain system to make digital identity more of a reality in the future.
The Blockchain and Fraud Prevention
Finally, one last area where telecommunication companies could easily benefit from the power of blockchain is in fraud prevention. According to a survey by the Association for Communication Fraud Control, fraudulent activity losses generally come out at about $38.1 billion. In other words – we need to get a handle on our fraud problem.
In the world of identity fraud, Blockchain could help us to identify people more accurately, and validate actions to ensure that devices are being used in the correct way. Ultimately, this could help to cut down on the amount of money that’s wasted because of fraud each year.
Is Blockchain the Future of Telecommunications?
Ultimately, blockchain might not be essential to the future of the Telecom industry, but it is a unique technology that could represent huge opportunities for telecommunication providers around the world.
Right now, we’re only beginning to tap into the possibilities of blockchain technology for wider applications. The more we learn about this incredible solution, the more likely it is that we’ll find more ways that communications and blockchain strategies can be linked together.
Rob is Founder & Publisher of UC Today, a leading news publication specialising in Unified Communications & Collaboration technologies.