When referring to emerging technologies and industry leadership at Syniverse, I often bind the discussions to implications to the business. It is important to note that focus to our business is critical, for example, doing a few things well as an operational tenet. It is far too easy to stray from our core business and pivot chaotically. Emerging technologies are relevant in so far as the industry and specifically we at Syniverse, see its commercial value.
So, yes, what I do at Syniverse is indeed a balancing act between what may be relevant to the business now and/or in the future. An example of emerging technologies that I have been working in is Distributed Ledger Technology or DLT often referred to as blockchain. Blockchain now is beyond the hype and industries have been adopting it as a value-add proposition to the business, for example automating processes cross organizationally.
For the mobile operators, we note the adoption of blockchain for Wholesale and Roaming or BWR. The DLT business logic is applied via the use of smart contracts which is really a set of rules written in code that trigger actions. However, there are other areas that are currently being discussed in the industry like DLT interoperability and DLT ledger agnostic capability, such as supporting multiple DLTS like Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum, Corda and so on.
I serve as co-chair of the GSMA-DLT group that not only discuss the DLT Architecture and Services in progress but invites external experts to demonstrate examples of use cases that are pertinent to the industry like Self Sovereign Identity [SSI], which looks at the use of Decentralized Identifier Documents [DIDs] to provide a credentialling capability. This is not pie in the sky and is being done now.
We could imagine the use of DIDs to credential employees or services. SK Telecom has developed its “initial” service based on the use of DIDs. Turkcell has implemented its proov service also based on DIDs. The sky is the limit in what is possible here.
Speaking of Decentralized Identity, I serve in the Hedera’s Decentralized Identity Special Interest Group or SIG. The discussions are very focused on use cases and actual services. We see DIDs taken to another level in terms of things having an identity like in the healthcare space, automotive space, mobile space and so on. Preventing or even detecting a device from being hijacked has been an example of a topic at this SIG.
Developing an interoperable ecosystem that would enable entities to support mobile customers identity, without exposing protected data, or providing competitors an opportunity to target mobile operators’ customer is also a theme here. Again, we are just addressing the tip of the iceberg.
One related area is the intersectionality between DLT security and Quantum Security an area that I have been active in at the GSMA with my colleagues in the carrier industry. Being able to scope both the risk areas and partnering with the industry to close out these risks is indeed an opportunity. Quantum Security is really a cross-domain area contextually for DLT. However, it should be noted that there are services already being developed. Verizon has conducted a trial for deploying a Quantum Key Distribution Network which is a vital step in boosting 5G security.
Moving from the GSMA and Hedera I represent Syniverse in the World Economic Forum Data Policy Council. Data policy is linked to cybersecurity, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), data privacy and, yes, DLT to name a few intersecting technologies. Data policy at a macro level is specific to the responsible use of data which is core to all businesses and organizations.
Structuring the conversation around data governance is a starting point. We challenge one another with what governance and standardization can look like. This is not easy as the topic is vast and contextual.
For enterprises, it is not just data compliance for compliance’s sake but rather understanding where the gaps are and producing mechanisms to remediate these gaps. So, if data is leaked and/or inappropriately used what does the accountability framework look like?
We are exploring new areas of data policy governance that challenge all of us to think about the topic differently. Differential privacy may be an example here and certainly privacy engineering and privacy by design are very relevant. In fact, taking a step further, security and privacy are digital twins. One cannot be without the other and the two worlds are blending.
Speaking of blending worlds, I am chair of the IEEE Industry Connections of Ethics in Extended Reality. In fact, I have been involved in this space of Ethics in Extended Reality for the past five years. COVID-19 has perhaps accelerated this space as people become isolated and exist in multiple worlds an example, like gaming, or other immersive worlds.
You may ask, what is the relationship between ethics in extended reality and the carrier industry, one response is 5G as an industry driver specifically the need for bandwidth permitting more experiential interactions. Experiential interactions may be the workplace for training. Certainly, ethics should be embedded in everything we do in this space. There is a polarity between Tech for Good and abuse. This is an exciting space to watch and moreover to participate in.
I am honored to be working with our customers and partners in these areas as you can detect by now the ecosystem is growing. At Syniverse, our focus is on you the members of this valuable ecosystem. So finally, let us create the future we wish to have together not the one we want to avoid.
The future yes is now!
With more than 25 years’ experience as a global technology leader, Monique is senior distinguished architect at Syniverse where her main role and responsibilities is to provide thought leadership and to help the strategic direction and vision for Syniverse’s identified emerging technologies across the company, partners and industry forum. Her specific focus areas include extensions of Distributed Ledger Technology [DLT] and other emerging components of blockchain technologies to Syniverse’s lines of business and enterprise. Emerging technology areas include DLT interoperability; zero knowledge proofs/data anonymization, trust and identity, and mobile payments.