Blockchain technology was first introduced to the tech market as a way to manage and protect the Bitcoin and other virtual or digital currencies (cryptocurrency). However, only a few years after this, the blockchain technology has multiple applications in telecommunication, real estate, and medical fields.
Many people mistake blockchain for cryptocurrency itself which is incorrect. So, to make things clear, we have to first establish that blockchain is not a cryptocurrency in itself. Rather, it is the technology that runs cryptocurrency or digital ledger.
Blockchain is essentially a set of distributed ledger technologies (data structure) that are programmed to record and track any valuable information from financial transactions to medical records and assets ownership.
Blockchain keeps the records of the historical ownership of an item as well as its origins. For example, before buying a diamond, buyers would be able to track their previous ownership, all the way to where it was extracted which affects the pricing of any property.
As for the medical field, blockchain technology's first application that comes to mind is keeping track of the patients' medical history. However, it can be also applied to the professional history of the doctors themselves, too.
Examples of the blockchain application in telecom industries
One of the challenges that telecom companies face is the need to innovate in a very competitive market while reducing costs at the same time to keep their services at an affordable price range.
Blockchain technology is offering the telecom industry the perfect solution to one of its core requirements. With such a tight and secure grasp on the data, the blockchain technology is already used in multiple applications in the telecom industry. Being able to hold historical records of users without any chance of those records being tampered with, makes it possible to manage different aspects of the users' accounts. Some of the blockchain applications in the telecom industry include automation of many internal operations such as billing systems, Roaming, and supply chain management.
Automating the billing systems using the smart contracts that blockchain technology provides saves the companies a lot of time, money, and prevents any possibility of fraud. As a result, the entire process of accounting and auditing will be automated which will save more money for the telecom companies.
Developing new digital services using blockchain
The blockchain technology still has so much potential to offer to the telecom industry. A bundle of blockchain-based services can create new revenue sources for telecom companies. Although these services are not fully explored or discovered yet, there are a few that are already clear enough to be executed on a large scale.
For example, the low cost of using blockchain for cheap payments can enable telecom companies to provide micro-payments which are usually used to purchase online mobile games, music, ..etc. As a result of deploying this service, no bank account details, credit card info, or any other suspicious or crucial data will be required to be provided to third party applications. In other words, the security of the blockchain applications in the telecom industry will provide an even higher level of security for telecom users.
Customer-to-customer money transfers
Another application for the blockchain technology is money transfer. It may seem fairly obvious since blockchain moved from being only a theory to real-world applications through the cryptocurrency, but many telecom companies are yet to apply this concept to enable its users to transfer money to other customers using a blockchain-based service.
Of course, since blockchain technology offers a reliable and invincible level of security, digital ID verification is going to be one of its most valuable applications in the telecom industry. This will become more important in the future as telecom companies start to deploy the blockchain technology in all of the financial aspects of its users' needs. Identity verification technologies right now are costing companies billions every year. Start-ups like Civic are now deploying a much cheaper and more secure identity verification systems based on blockchain technology.
Online advertising management
Telecom companies already have data from millions of users. With the blockchain technology application, these companies will be able to utilise this infinite source of data in the online advertising industry in a better way than what is currently happening.
The online advertising market right now is widely inefficient which makes it the perfect environment for telecom companies to step in and use blockchain applications to offer a better marketplace for both advertisers and users alike. With blockchain technology, advertisers can reach better leads and users can decide how and when their data and information will be used in the advertising market.
When the blockchain started as an idea and research back in the 1990s, it was meant to provide a reliable way of notary and contract drafting. However, it provided the thing that the entire world is wanting the most, not just the telecom industry; it provided security on a level that no other technology was able to reach before.
The idea of having a record-keeping and tracking method that is immune to manipulation or hacking makes its applications limitless in every market that requires security.
As you can see, most of the applications for the blockchain technology in telecommunication is financial in one way or another. Facilitating financial transactions and transfers through the blockchain technology is promising to take the telecom companies to a future where these companies are fully-functioning banks at the lowest possible costs. This step will be supported by the fact that telecom is one of the industries that have a high level of trust from its customers. Using blockchain-based applications will utilise this trust and increase it at the same time.
The blockchain technology is still considered relatively new. This is why there is so much potential in it that is still unravelling. With blockchain technology, the world now is in the phase of having this new tool that can be used in ways that no one really knows yet. There is so much room for exploring and finding new opportunities.
Ishaan Seth, managing director, QwikFone