For the futurists out there, Blockchain Maximalist by Luis Wester is a fascinating read. His introductory statement sets the scene for how decentralised technology will fundamentally change how we live, work and interact in future.
We have entered a radical evolution of how we interact and trade in an ever-more interconnected world. The transformation to public self-governance has already begun and will result in a restructure and redistribution of power and control in society. It is greeted with fear from many of the traditional institutions, which try their absolute most to cling onto their established power through regulations and public opinion campaigns. All these efforts, all across the earth will fail. One by one, organizations must adapt or be replaced. The shift into the new decentralized era is underway.
This period of innovative change is already affecting the lives of assurance professionals globally. The demand for assurance skills, services and technology has never been greater. This is driven by the digitalisation of industry, increased governance and compliance needs, increased opportunity for fraudsters and online criminals, and pressure to deliver superior returns to investors. Success in our industry will hinge on our ability to adapt to this changing environment and embrace the potential that new mindsets, methods and technologies present.
Revenue assurance and fraud within telecommunications is a good example of how assurance could be done in future across other sectors and risk disciplines. Continuous, automated, data driven assurance with multi-disciplinary teams demonstrating tangible value through an effective second-line assurance infrastructure has been the hallmark of the telco RAFM success story. Notwithstanding this, there are many adjacent opportunities that remain untapped and therefore the need for further innovation is paramount for the future success of the discipline. We believe strongly in a future assurance profession that thinks more strategically about exploiting the drivers of value creation. Orienting our mindset around the creation of insights will help us to shape and drive business improvement, as well making us more innovative in developing our skills, approach and technology. It’s this opportunity that is the driving force behind Orillion Solutions and our partnership with the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG).
Fraud is a growing problem for network operators, with devastating impacts on customers and their network experience. This is why the RAG Steering Committee recently approved a pilot with Orillion Solutions that will address fraud in a different way. Wangiri fraud was identified as a suitable first use case, because it has plagued the industry for decades but is now sharply increasing in scale and severity. Fraudsters who engage in wangiri will either call or spoof a call to appear as if it has come from an international premium rate destination. The phone will ring once or twice leaving a missed call that customers are tempted to dial and are then charged expensive premium rates for the connection.
While some advancements have been made in near-real time profiling and detection, many telcos still face an uphill battle in tackling this problem. Wangiri often hits the headlines when customers complain of bill shock after being charged the premium rate for calling these destinations, which is a terrible customer experience as well as a reputational risk for telcos. The lack of an industry-wide database of number ranges used in wangiri attacks is one of the reasons fraud management teams tend to be reactive in managing this risk. The inflated traffic detection method used by many traditional technologies enables fraudsters to improve their anti-detection techniques. The lack of collaboration and information sharing between telcos helps give fraudsters global reach and scale in carrying out these attacks.
Blockchain technology can be very effective in addressing industry fraud risks, and forms an integral part of the Orillion solution suite. Blockchain functions well in consortium-type environments that require high levels of trust and auditability in the data that is shared between consortium members. Creating a distributed wangiri numbering ledger between trusted industry sources (network operators, fraud management vendors and interested authorities) using blockchain technology is an opportunity for the industry to help better manage the wangiri problem.
Orillion is partnering with RAG to develop the RAG Wangiri Ledger prototype which operators globally will be able to contribute to and benefit from at no cost. The technology being used in the pilot aims to provide consortium members access to a decentralised and cryptographically secure blockchain ledger. This ledger will allow members to contribute to the same global database while accessing a full local copy of the database that is kept up to date in real time. Members will have flexible access to the data without the need for a third party, allowing them to respond to threats faster than ever before. This infrastructure will be built on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain and make use of a decentralised application to ensure any incoming data adheres to global standards.
If the wangiri numbering pilot proves successful, further phases could include adding international premium range fraud numbering, fraudulent IP address information, and stolen devices to the ledger.
The pilot has attracted interest from a number of telco groups globally, and a prototype will be demonstrated at RAG Bonn on June 11th and 12th.
If you are interested in joining the pilot, which will involve contributing to design sprints and adding ledger data during testing, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.