Today’s ecosystem of interconnected networks and transactions is big, getting bigger, and well on its way to redefining the way we do business. This is especially true in the area of clearing and settlement, since all these transactions have to be securely monetized. With new technologies like 5G and private LTE now adding even more connectivity and complexity, the near future of clearing and settlement increasingly lies in the ability to seamlessly and securely clear any type of transaction that requires validation, as well as the ability to provide an audit trail.
Private blockchain offers a perfect technology to enable this, and this month Syniverse made a major move in this area with the announcement of completion of a proof of concept with IBM, Orange, and MTS. We’ve been collaborating on a solution that uses blockchain to instantly validate new wholesale billing and charging processes for clearing and settlement services. Our first phase included the successful testing of a pilot, and we’re now continuing to work together to bring this solution to market with other mobile operators, as well as on other use cases using the same technology.
It’s one of several steps we’re taking to strengthen our investment and optimize our services with this powerful technology. I discussed some of these in a previous blog post, and in this post I’d like to go over more on this by answering some common questions I’ve been receiving about our recent blockchain activity.
What did Syniverse announce with IBM?
We announced a solution that uses blockchain to instantly validate new wholesale billing and charging processes for clearing and settlement services. The Syniverse and IBM solution is designed to enable “smart contracts” to be coordinated and executed between mobile operators. The smart-contracts capability of blockchain technology helps determine the rules and processes governing each transaction between parties. This capability will help improve customer efficiencies and reduce the friction of doing business, such as for dispute management. At the same time, we tested the new standard for 5G roaming clearing and settlement.
How did you test the solution?
We validated it in trials with Orange and MTS. Orange worked closely with us to implement, test, and provide feedback on the solution, and reported that the solution will help increase operational efficiency, especially for call event creation and data exchange, based on the specific steps included in the pilot. MTS also reported that it saw valuable efficiency gains in clearing and settlement for roaming, underpinned by increased operational efficiency, auditability, and smart-contract management.
What are the benefits of the solution?
By securely sharing data and creating a permanent, transparent record of digital transactions in a security-rich environment, blockchain helps pave the way for mobile service providers to operate more effectively within their business networks. What we’ve demonstrated with our solution is the way that blockchain can be used to provide each participant of the network with the same verifiable proof of events, billable usage, or executed transactions. It also simplifies the whole process of setting up and managing agreements, including commercial data, which is the smart-contract part. This is a much more efficient and secure way of improving time to market and monetizing transactions.
What’s next for your blockchain solution?
The next steps for our solution are to extend it to other mobile operators and continue testing and refining it for new 5G- and IoT-enabled charging processes, as well as working on other use cases using the same technology. An example involving efficiency is using the roaming use case for other wholesale traffic. It uses the same base data, an agreement and a different smart contract, invoicing, and settling with the same partner. Many other use cases for both operators and enterprises are in the works that can offer benefits from shared components.
How is Syniverse positioned to use blockchain with major technology players like IBM?
Syniverse is well-suited to address the complexities of clearing and settlement in several ways, and by joining forces with players like IBM, we can bring the best of both worlds. IBM brings deep experience with blockchain, as well as trust and scalability. Blockchain links multiple parties and data to one transaction and requires these elements to be connected in a seamless and secure way. Syniverse has developed expertise in this exact role over several decades. We’ve specialized in connecting both operators and businesses to the networks and transactions of the mobile world for over 30 years, and today we connect more than 1,000 mobile operators and more than 500 other companies in almost 200 countries. This makes us ideally suited for helping our customers efficiently and securely deal with an ever-growing ecosystem and related transactions: We’re an independent third party that can enable, validate and monetize transactions. These are just a few capabilities that position us well to help businesses understand, apply, and gain maximum value from blockchain in an age of a massively more connected world.
Dennis Meurs is Vice President and General Manager, Transaction and Clearing Services, and works at Syniverse’s Luxembourg office.