Blockchain may be a relatively new concept but it is making big promises in lots of industries. Although it is currently associated with the financial industry, blockchain is presenting opportunities and innovations for many businesses and industries, including telecoms.

Before we delve into how telecoms could adopt such innovations, what do we even mean by the terms blockchain and blockchain technologies?

Blockchain is a term used to describe a list of records, called blocks, which use cryptography to secure and link them together. This makes them very safe and secure systems as they are resistant to changes and modifications of those lists of records (which could contain sensitive information).

Blockchain can be used as a distributed ledger, helping secure peer to peer networks collectively. Modifications of any blocks or records need the majority of the network to agree, creating a fair and equal system. This helps create a transparent and efficient model and avoids using central servers or third party independent trusted authorities.

There are 3 types of blockchain systems:

Public – Anyone can read and write the data, open to everyone

Private– Controlled by one organisation, limited read permissions

Consortium – Controlled by a group of organisations, only participants can grant read/write permissions

So, how does this affect telecoms?

There are several ways the telecoms industry and IT departments can adopt blockchain concepts to help improve operations and create safe and secure networks. Many of these relate to growing trends and future technologies, illustrating how blockchain can help make other technological developments a reality. As well as helping tackle current issues within telecoms, blockchain can create new opportunities that simply aren’t possible without it. This may lead to an industry that sees continually innovative solutions entering the marketplace.

As a telecoms provider, this is an exciting prospect that may allow businesses to rethink what telecoms really means. IT departments and the networks that allow businesses to thrive may just become a huge competitive edge for businesses willing to adopt new technologies.

Some benefits of blockchain in telecoms include:

Better Security

The decentralised nature of blockchain means it is less likely to be hacked or breeched. There is no centralised system that has a perceived value. The way blockchain is built allows for robust security that helps keep data safe.

It is much easier to identify potential fraud or attempted data manipulation in a technology like blockchain than current systems.

Convenience

The convenience associated with being recognised and authenticated by networks and systems means users can enjoy the internet without worrying about passwords, usernames and other daily obstacles. This also means users don’t have to worry about constantly giving up personal information and data, which can then be breeched by a third party.

The encryption of data also means fraud and associated negatives of using networks and the internet can be tackled head-on.

Identify and Verification

Blockchain can help provide quick and effective identification and verification of data and users.

The ability to provide secure identification and verification of other devices is paramount for technologies such as the Internet of Things to live up to its full potential. These networks could be vulnerable to hacking, so by integrating the level of security blockchain can provide, may give other technology the boost they need to go mainstream.

This may help lead to “smart cities” as currently being experimented in Dubai. These smart cities will provide unparalleled access to the internet.

Data Management

Blockchain will help create better data management systems that provide secure, user-friendly and quick access to data. This will help transform business operations that may currently suffer from internal processes and red-tape.

Blockchain will help empower users and make their daily lives easier.

Internal Processes

Blockchain will help standardise and simplify processes and systems within organisations. This will help save time and money through better business models.

Actions and payments can be detected and calculated in real time. This helps prevent fraud or inefficiencies and helps businesses understand what’s happening within their networks.

Potential Challenges for Blockchain in Telecoms

Whilst the opportunities and potential benefits are vast, there are some hurdles and challenges that would need to be overcome for blockchain to be welcomed wholeheartedly into telecoms. One of the main challenges is around how blockchain would integrate into regulatory frameworks, government laws and privacy issues. The GDPR is an example of how different regions prioritise and interpret the need for digital privacy. Such regulations and new laws could have implications on any new technologies entering any marketplace, particularly those that handle data and sensitive information.

Blockchain is evolving quicker than governments are creating laws around then, meaning there is still some ambiguity around what stance governments will take around such technology.

The adoption of the technology will also disrupt a lot of legacy processes and systems, which will involve big initial efforts. It is unlikely the technology can slip into current processes – instead, it’ll require big network changes and associated costs.

These challenges aren’t likely to stop blockchain entering the telecoms industry, but may impact the speed of adoption and way businesses approach it. Once a few brave organisations take the leap and see benefits, others are likely to quickly follow.

Telecoms Innovation and PureComms

Blockchain is still a young technology and it may still be a few years away from mainstream adoption in telecoms. The extent to which this adoption happens is also still unknown. Nevertheless, it illustrates the innovation and advancements that can help progress and improve telecoms and help the C-suite create business models that are simpler, more secure and more effective.

We’re passionate about what the future holds for telecoms and will ensure we’re at the cutting edge of whatever technologies can get the best results. Whether that’s blockchain or something still to be discovered, our role is to help our clients maximise their returns through telecoms that deliver exceptional results.

If you’d like to learn more about our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.