If you asked at the beginning of 2020 about my hopes and expectations for the future, I would not have said I await the day when I can see the faces of the majority of shoppers at my local supermarket. That day has come! Masks are being put away and the world is coming out to play. My diary is filling up with all sorts of engagements: restaurant dates, gallery exhibitions, live music. I might even attend a ballet. But the most exciting event in the calendar of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG) is RAG London 2021, our first must-attend conference since RAG Delhi in February 2020.
When I write ‘must-attend’, I also mean you must be in the room to participate. As much as I enjoy hosting RAG TV and online conferences, real magic occurs when people meet face to face. That magic was responsible for RAG Learning, where we share a growing number of free training courses with content donated by firms like MTN, Deutsche Telekom and Focus Data. The same magic made it possible to recruit 90 telcos to use the free RAG Wangiri Blockchain in less time than others spend designing marketing campaigns for expensive information exchanges that never receive any information to exchange. I cannot predict the outcome for RAG London 2021, but I do know that conversations between old friends and networking with new peers will provide sparks that fire up the imagination and generate new solutions to common problems.
The agenda for RAG London 2021 is strong.
- Telstra, BT and Vodafone will all be represented on the panel about CLI spoofing and fraud, a topic where telecoms anti-fraud professionals urgently need to organize themselves if they want to influence the juggernaut of expectations being driven by the police, US vendors and the banking sector.
- Multiplay comms provider JT Group and MVNO giffgaff will reflect on the ways their revenue assurance plans were affected by the pandemic and how their priorities have changed.
- The evolution of cybersecurity challenges will be discussed by experts from Telefónica and secure IoT/M2M provider Zariot.
- The power of data analysis will be explored by a popular expert from BT.
- SMS is increasingly used to commit crime, so we will review the latest industry data about the scale of the problem whilst hearing how Vodafone is responding to the challenge.
- Leading vendors will join Virgin Mobile to elaborate the universe of risks faced by digital TV providers.
- As usual, the event will close with the Wise Heads free-for-all session, where we draw upon the audience interaction that has occurred throughout the conference to ask a team of veteran experts to summarize key learnings from the event and the work that needs to be done to further mitigate risk.
Some conference attendees will want to join the optional workshop on the development of RAG’s new crowdsourced fraud catalog, a major extension to the leakage catalog overseen by Geoff Ibbett. Others will be drawn to sessions on signaling firewalls, machine learning, distributed ledger technology, disruptive business models, problem management and root cause analysis. The beauty of a traditional conference is that you not only learn about subjects that matter to you, but you have the chance to continue the conversation throughout the event.
Registrations for the event have accelerated following the relaxation of social distancing rules and the end of quarantine requirements for visitors to England by vaccinated travelers from the European Union and USA. The pandemic has encouraged people to make better use of the video conferencing and live streaming capabilities made possible by modern networks, but not everything can be done remotely. I can feel the pent-up demand for events like RAG London. Sometimes people need to be in the same room to have the time and focus to tackle stubborn challenges. And let us not forget that meeting people is also a source of pleasure! That is why I am so excited that RAG London 2021 is only six weeks away.
RAG London 2021 will be held at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel, next to London Heathrow Airport, on Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th September. Employees of communications providers and regulators can attend for free by registering with their work email address; see the registration form here.