Joomla Templates and Joomla Extensions by JoomlaVision.Com
Banner

Telecom Review North America


Latest Issue

Telecom Review's Interview with Marc Halbfinger, CEO of PCCW Global

Telecom Review's Interview with Alessandro Talotta, Chairman and CEO of Telecom Italia Sparkle

Telecom Review Summit 2016

Jeff Seal, Managing Partner Telecom Review NA Interviews the CEO of Spirent Technologies

Jeff Seal Interviews Zayo President Mike Strople

Telecom Review's Jeff Seal Moderates Submarine Fiber Optic Gathering

Socialize with us

Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Industry Leaders Unite to Use Blockchain Technologies PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 September 2018 07:14


Blockchain in the telecom market is expected to grow from USD 46.6 million in 2018 to USD 993.8 million by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 84.4% during the forecast period. Blockchain in the telecom market is driven by various factors, such as the increasing support for OSS/BSS processes and rising security concerns among telcos. However, growing concerns over the authenticity of users, and uncertain regulatory status and the lack of common standards can hinder the growth of the market.

PCCW Global and Colt Technology Services have collaborated with Clear to demonstrate that inter-carrier settlement times can be reduced from hours to minutes by using blockchain technology.

The objective of this Proof of Concept (PoC) was to ascertain if the advantages offered by blockchain technology could be applied to make inter-carrier settlements more efficient, reliable, and scalable.

Telecom Review recently visited with Gal Hochberg, the CEO of Clear, in order to give our readers and the industry an overview of Blockchain and how it is improving our industry.

Clear will utilize the abilities of blockchain technology to make transactions efficient, dependable and scalable. Currently, businesses rely on manual methods for transactions; despite the significant costs those means add to their budgets. With blockchain, records will be decentralized and encrypted cryptographically, considerably reducing the processing times. Consequently, processes that were hitherto time consuming will be complete within relatively shorter periods.

Additionally, the integration of blockchain technology will substantially bolster the security within the networks. Given the numerous cases of fraud marring the crypto space, coupled up with the sensitive and confidential nature of info exchanged over such platforms, this will certainly boost client’s confidence in the platform. As a result, dispute resolution, a process that is currently complicated and wearisome, will become significantly faster.

Presently, a considerable portion of blockchain platforms do not support scalability, contract privacy and first-rate business logic. This is a worrying trend, given the importance of such aspects to the clearing and settlement industry. Clear platform will correct this glaring shortcoming, increasing the viability of blockchain-based wholesale trading ecosystems.

Clear and Voice Settlements

The PCCW Global PoC was specifically focused on the settlement area of wholesale voice minutes, as the majority of telecom operators have similar processes for these transactions. Clear is a blockchain-based platform that deals in clearance and settlements for clients from various sectors. The primary of objective is to assist businesses to transition from the present ineffective and manual methods to efficient and modern processes with real-time updates without making any compromises. Clear will realize these goals by leveraging the capabilities of smart contracts coupled up with innovative and revolutionary technological infrastructure.

Eventually, this platform will create and nurture sustainable economies in collaboration with industry leaders. These will foster evolution as well as inventions, benefiting all stakeholders in the process. Furthermore, the Clear platform will allow traders to capitalize on opportunities resulting from as well as the challenges associated with the paradigm shift towards digital technology.

Today, despite the financial importance of these settlements to wholesale carriers, they still involve manual transactions which are costly for all parties. In the trial, the application of blockchain’s decentralized, cryptographically enforced, immutable ledger technology resulted in tens of thousands of call records being analyzed and settled in a few minutes. Using blockchain technology, hundreds of hours of manual work were reduced to seconds of automated verification and settlement.

Furthermore, blockchain technology adds an extra layer of security and trust to transactions in an industry where sensitive and proprietary information is frequently exchanged, fraud is rife, and dispute resolution can be lengthy and complex.

Most of today's blockchain technologies lack solutions for scalability, contract privacy and enterprise grade business logic, all critical for an industry wide settlement and clearing platform. However, through the use of proprietary technologies, this PoC demonstrated the viability of a blockchain-based wholesale trading system.

Both Colt and PCCW Global are members of the Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF), where discussions on blockchain have featured heavily, and it was in this forum that the collaboration was cemented. GLF aims to foster an environment within the telecom industry that focuses on ubiquity and interoperability among providers. This PoC was centered around these themes by attempting to understand how a technology such as blockchain can benefit the sector as a whole.

Marc Halbfinger, Chief Executive Officer of PCCW Global and the Chairman of the GLF, said, “Everyone is talking about blockchain but the use cases in the telecom industry have been fairly limited until now. Whilst this deployment is currently only at the PoC stage, through our collaboration with Colt we are eager to demonstrate how the many potential uses of blockchain across our industry can deliver value by improving the ways in which we interoperate.”

Carl Grivner, Chief Executive Officer of Colt, said, “It is our goal to create a more agile, customer-oriented organization, and one way in which we are doing this is by exploring the benefits of disruptive technologies, such as blockchain. Collaborating with PCCW Global and Clear is ground breaking, as we have demonstrated how blockchain can transform the way we conduct business in the telecom industry.”

Gal Hochberg, Chief Executive Officer of Clear, said, “It is exciting for any business to create something that has the power to truly innovate how an entire industry operates. This PoC marks the beginning of how blockchain is set to revolutionize the telecom sector.” PCCW Global and Colt, in conjunction with blockchain start-up Clear, revealed in March that the parties had undertaken a trial that demonstrated how the inter-carrier settlement of wholesale international services could be automated through the use of blockchain. By using blockchain technology, the PoC was able to reduce this labor-intensive process from hours to minutes.

The initial PoC used historical data as a test of the technology and its use case for the sector. Now, the parties have taken the trial a step further by ingesting actual live data feeds into the ledger, enabling traffic to be automatically verified and settled between carriers.

While the original two carriers are now using live data to verify and settle traffic, other members of the GLF have also seized the opportunity to get involved in the initiative, with the aim being to soon expand the bilateral testing between PCCW Global and Colt to encompass a multilateral series of relationships among the wholesale telecommunications industry as a whole.

Other GLF members now getting involved include BT, HGC Global Communications, Telefónica and Telstra.

Mr. Andrew Kwok, Chief Executive Officer of HGC, said, “This expanded trial which now includes HGC, shows the momentous initiative of the GLF led blockchain work stream. This initiative eventually if positive, would certainly demonstrate a new business relationship among global carriers and reshape our business practice in the industry.”

Mr. Juan Carlos Bernal, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica International Wholesale Services, said, “We are convinced that blockchain is a relevant technology that will not only help the wholesale business to gain efficiency, but also significantly improve the efficiency of launching new services.”

MEF Proof of Concept for Broadband on Demand

Service providers CBCcom, PCCW Global, Sparkle and Tata Communications, together with technology vendors Clear Blockchain Technologies and Cataworx, have joined forces to create a Proof of Concept (PoC) designed to show how Telcos can introduce next-generation services such as IoT, VR and cloud in record speed, thanks to innovations in blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and intent-based customer interfaces. The PoC will be demonstrated between the 29th and 31st of October 2018 at the MEF18 global networking event (MEF18event.com) in Los Angeles, California.

New technologies, such as IoT, VR, autonomous cars and cloud, are driving user demand for higher capacity, agile bandwidth, lower latency and a guaranteed quality of service. While certain carriers and mobile operators have already developed capabilities for delivering on-demand services on their own network and infrastructure, inter-carrier operations are currently still managed manually as the BSS and OSS systems are not geared to offer automation of inter-carrier operations. On the operational side, the reasons include lack of a common language, use of disparate information and data models and misalignment of processes. On the commercial side, reasons include limited support of usage-based performance metrics and billing and settlement involving multi-party, multi-dimensional products. The PoC demonstrates a solution to both challenges.

The Bandwidth-on-Demand PoC will demonstrate the power and viability of a synchronized and decentralized global supply chain for inter-carrier bandwidth-on-demand services. As a result, carriers can automatically discover, quote, deliver and settle multi-product, multi-party services, eliminating reliance on a centralized intermediating party.

Cataworx will demonstrate LSO Sonata inter-carrier quoting solutions and LSO Cantata intent interfaces, enabling customers to rapidly discover and order services that span across multiple carrier networks. Clear will demonstrate LSO Sonata blockchain-based billing and settlement enabling carriers to bill for guaranteed network capacity on-demand, thus unlocking new revenue streams based on existing network infrastructure. Service providers CBCcom, PCCW Global, Sparkle and Tata Communications represent a multi-carrier interconnected network environment.

The PoC uses MEF LSO Cantata and Sonata inter-carrier interfaces for automation of bandwidth-on-demand product discovery, service eligibility verification, quote, order and blockchain-based settlement of services that are delivered across automated, virtualized and interconnected networks in accordance with the MEF LSO framework. In the PoC, customers state their intent via the bot-based Cataworx Community Portal. Off-net quotes are then exchanged across a MEF LSO Sonata Interface Reference Point as product offerings are discovered across any number of carriers. Orders are encoded in smart contracts and services are automatically settled, including provisions for SLA, using private and shared blockchain interactions.

The commercial solution, provided by Clear, involves automated multiparty inter-carrier blockchain-based invoicing, payments, dispute resolution, SLA based remedies and settling. The process eliminates manual, labor intensive and time-consuming elements of settlement, invoicing and clearing, accelerates quoting and invoicing and enables synchronized inter-carrier usage-based billing. With the elimination of a centralized orchestrator, neighboring carriers can transact directly, flexibly and automatically without revealing any sensitive commercial or operational information to a third party. This creates an equal-level bandwidth-on-demand play-field enabling any carrier to participate in the next wave of service innovation, based on their footprint and carrier-relations assets, free of vendor lock-in.

Gal Hochberg, Co-founder and CEO of Clear Blockchain Technologies, said: “The telecommunications industry is producing one of the most exponential assets of the world today: bandwidth. With a growing demand for cutting-edge technologies such as cloud, VR, or self-driving cars, telecom companies have an opportunity to unlock new revenue-generating opportunities by offering data on demand for fixed and mobile subscribers. The Bandwidth-on-Demand PoC is the first step towards a guaranteed and secured new internet layer enabling new connectivity for people and organizations wherever they are.”

Richard Fung, CEO of China Broadband Communications (CBCcom), said: “These days, no company with an eye on global expansion can afford to ignore China. Demands for bandwidth is growing exponentially in China, e-commerce transactions, Smart Cities, IoT, AI, have all been a major driver of China's digital economy. Our goal has always been to simplify the delivery of telecommunication services to help companies investing in China to do well. Likewise, China’s company going global, the Belt and Road initiative is also driving the demand for connectivity between China and rest of the world. I strongly believe, the successful roll out of this PoC will offer great benefits for global business, and redefine inter-carrier processes.”

Shahar Steiff, AVP, New Technology, PCCW Global, said: “Customers require reliable services that are based on managed connectivity, managed compute resources and managed storage resources, delivered with uncompromised security. Telecommunications carriers strive to automate the delivery of such services in order to reap the commercial benefits of measured and billable on-demand services that will yield additional revenues from existing infrastructure. This PoC demonstrates that such services can be realized today, and highlights the need of the industry to converge towards a unified modelling and operational approach, which are the prerequisites for such automation across multiple operator domains.”

Daniele Mancuso, Director Innovation & Engineering, Sparkle, said: “The ultimate goal of MEF3.0 is the creation of multiple ecosystems of interconnected Service Providers delivering their Customers with on-demand, certified, agile, assured, and orchestrated communication services. This PoC further raises the bar of the work that the Industry has done so far toward this direction, demonstrating how traditionally static and long-lasting processes such as Partners qualification, commercial iterations and settlements, can be now automated through real-time quoting portals and with the creation of decentralized circles of trust based on blockchain technology. We are delighted to participate to this highly innovative PoC confirming, once more, Sparkle as a technology & innovation driving force in the Industry.”

Brian Hedstrom, Co-Founder and CEO of Cataworx, said: “We are excited about bringing our software solutions to the telecom pre-sales operations space. We’ve spent the past year gaining a deep understanding of the pain points operators face with pre-sales and partner integrations. The consistent theme is a lack of automation where inefficient and error-prone manual processes are a bottleneck to delivering agile on-demand services. We have invested heavily in technologies such as collaboration, intent, natural language and AI to simplify the user experience. Cataworx is focused on driving down Telco operating expenditures and creating a revolutionary customer experience, moving more control into their customers hands. We remain committed to the success of the MEF LSO Framework and our team actively contributes to the Sonata and Cantata interface definitions.”

Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF, said: “MEF18 Proof of Concept demonstrations, like this collaborative effort involving PCCW Global, Tata Communications, Sparkle, CBCcom, Clear, and Cataworx, are crucial to accelerating development and worldwide adoption of assured services, orchestrated across automated networks with MEF 3.0. We are delighted by the tremendous support of leading service and technology solutions providers who are participating in this year’s PoC Showcase. More than 50 companies will be involved in 20 demos. That’s double the number of participants in last year’s popular showcase.”

Engaged with major telecommunications organizations and carriers, Clear successfully completed a GLF-led PoC with PCCW Global and Colt for international wholesale IDD voice traffic, settling historical data for both companies in less than a minute. The second phase of the PoC integrated with the carriers’ production networks to settle data in near-real-time using automatic dispute resolution and settlement logic encoded in smart contracts, and was expanded to include additional carriers Telefonica, Telstra, and BT.

Clear is launching additional PoCs in roaming and mobile messaging later this year. Gal is also looking to the future when Clear can further automate settlements for other services and other products