Blockchain and Digital Transformation

In recent years there has been much discussion about Blockchain and its disruptive impact on the telecommunications scene. It has hit the industry by storm with a significant 36 percent of CSP-organisations are already considering or actively engaged with Blockchains.[1] It is without doubt a game changer for telecommunications due to the value it can add to the industry and the potential to transform businesses across the globe.

So what is Blockchain and how does it work? Blockchain has been described as a type of digital ledger that provides greater transparency, validity and security to the transfer of information and data between networks. Blockchain creates a decentralised system where information is no longer controlled by a single network but rather a series of digital blocks validated by peer-to-peer networks, making it virtually impossible to alter data in any single block without altering data in all subsequent blocks. [2] Such data is cryptographically linked in a chain formation making it almost impossible to change. [3] The beauty of this process is that it enables users at each stage of the transfer process to rely upon the accuracy of information being given to them.

So how will Blockchain affect telecommunications? Well in short, it is likely to add a huge amount of value to telecommunication systems. One of the issues for most telecommunication providers is that they use a centralised system rather than a decentralised system which means that security for users is an issue and privacy is often invaded. This can be a major issue for users when information is needed to be kept confidential. Blockchain on the other hand will be able to provide better security and enable service providers to stop unauthorized devices from connecting to networks. This will ensure that any information transferred between users remains private.[4] This is incredibly important for telecommunication in an era that has often been the subject of poor online security, increased risk and fraud.[5]

Another benefit of Blockchain is that it will be able to provide lower network costs. This is because Blockchain can cut down on the time it takes to transfer information between users and remove the necessity to rely on third parties to verify and complete a transaction. [6] In effect this streamlines telecommunications and saves providers time and money. A combined effect of speed and efficiency makes for a better quality of service.

It is hard to say how the future of Blockchain could negatively affect Telecommunication. However, it is unclear at present how regulatory authorities may play a role in the use of Blockchain in the telecommunication industry.[7] Of course what is clear is that in the likely future course of events Blockchain will be at the heart of a lot of change for the telecommunications industry and will continue to be at the forefront of discussions for many years to come.

[1] Van Den Dam, R. from (2018) Blockchain in telecom: From concept to reality [Blog] Available at https://www.ibm.com/blogs/insights-on-business/telecom-media-entertainment/blockchain-telecom-concept-reality/ .

[2] Nannra, A. (2018) Blockchain and a Safer Self-Driving Future [Blog] Available at https://blogs.cisco.com/innovation/blockchain-and-a-safer-self-driving-future.

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] Stoughton, J. (2018) How Innovative Blockchain Technology Will Change Telecom [Online Article] Available at http://www.digitalistmag.com/digital-economy/2018/01/24/innovative-blockchain-technology-change-telecom-05790020.

[6] Cranford, N. (2017) The role of blockchain in telecommunications [Online Article] Available at https://www.rcrwireless.com/20171218/the-role-of-blockchain-in-telecommunications-tag27-tag99.

[7] Simandl, C. (2018) Blockchain: Beyond Financial Data [Online Article] Available at https://aotmp.com/blockchain-beyond-financial-data/.