Although primarily known for its application behind the transactions of cryptocurrencies, Blockchain is slowly and steadily diversifying its user base. The technology has already established its high credentials on the safety and security front, and now the ecosystem players in the telecom industry are eyeing blockchain for its potential use in mobile payments, supply chains, logistics system, and other various backend processes.
Telecom Industry Foray
Sensing the huge potential of blockchain technology, the European telecommunication standard Institute (ETSI) has formed a group to identify and analyze the application areas of blockchain in the telecom ecosystem. The constituted group has the representations from the Industry bigwigs like Huawei, Ericsson, Intel, Vodafone, and Telefonica. The first meeting of the group is scheduled for January 24 next year at the office of Telefonica in Spain.
ETSI is describing this formal get together as an opportunity to discuss in detail how the integration of blockchain technology can be done in the current telecom ecosystem. The meeting would present an opportunity for the major telecom players to analyze blockchain’s business case, functional architecture, and more importantly, its compatibility with the existing protocols/APIs/ interfaces/Data models, etc.
AT&T and Blockchain
Now to know how telecom companies could utilize the blockchain technology, the case of AT&T is worth considering. The American multinational conglomerate is using the blockchain technology to derive efficiencies in its supply chain management vertical. Explaining the role of the blockchain, AT&T’s Assistant Vice President (AVP) of Product Marketing, Mobeen Khan said that the company is using blockchain as a link between its different business verticals, resulting in an improvement of efficiency for its supply chain partners.
Elaborating on the process, Khan explained that among others, many of the company’s expert solutions are centered on manufacturing, retailing, and transportation. Collectively, these three functions constitute a supply chain of an organization which typically starts with inbound logistics and manufacturers building the products. The transporter then ships the products to local and global markets using different modes of transportation – air, rail, sea, and road. In the case of cross-border trade, products are scrutinized by the regulators to check whether all the compliances are met. Once cleared, supplies reach distributor’s warehouse before they finally arrive at the retailer’s shelf.
With a focus on vertical solutions, AT&T is helping each of the companies in this value chain by providing certain kind of services. For example, manufacturers get the AT&T’s assistant in their logistics, transporters in the tracking of their vehicles, pallet companies in locating packets, and retailers in terms of connected shelves. However, the data collected in these processes is siloed, with each set being tracked and analyzed for some specific purpose relating to a specific organization in the value chain.
Blockchain Technology Merit
Blockchain Technology can help to decentralize the data by taking it out from the silos and sharing it across the value chain partners for achieving greater efficiencies. Not only will it enhance the permeability and build confidence among the players but will also drastically reduce the time taken to make a sound business decision.