Global Trust and Transformation

But success today will require a different approach and new, innovative ideas such as leveraging network APIs to extract the value of the network, and enabling network transactions that unlock value for enterprises and consumers...this is a significant shift.

Finally, innovation by digitally native Over-The-Top (OTT) providers has created new pressure on network providers. OTT companies have seized the opportunity to leverage the CSP network to deliver their services. This has limited CSPs’ roles to essentially providing only the plumbing on which streaming services ride. While being the utility provider is not itself a bad business model, there is an increased cost as it relates to Quality of Service (QoS). For example, when Netflix gets jittery, consumers don’t call Netflix—they call their service provider. This increases support costs and erodes margins, as OTTs cannibalize CSPs’ business. Innovation requires taking a different tack, and perhaps culture, such as possessing the ability to identify, develop, and deliver unique, tiered network services to offer better connectivity for select streaming services. Yet, many CSPs failed to seize this opportunity. 

However, some CSPs are now waking up to the reality of today’s digital world, and recognizing the role they can play in the digital-trust equation. CSPs have traditionally excelled at delivering five-nines network availability and solid, dependable service. They have cleaved to the “walled garden” approach of holding onto everything within the network. But success today will require a different approach and new, innovative ideas such as leveraging network APIs to extract the value of the network, and enabling network transactions that unlock value for enterprises and consumers. As leaders have noted, it’s a significant shift.

Establishing trust

Despite these transformational pressures, the good news is that CSPs may be in the best position to provide a digital-trust solution. Today, many CSPs are starting with branded calling solutions and other approaches to combat robocalling. The challenge is that it’s early in development and a bit fragmented. For example, branded calling today relies on a business customer registering a phone number with every service provider, creating a big burden and friction that can significantly erode adoption.

There’s a precedent that serves as an interesting parallel: the development of short codes in the United States. Short codes are the unique five- or six-digit numbers that make text messaging campaigns possible. When they came into use, short codes were originally administered separately by each individual CSP. Brands that wanted to use short codes in campaigns had to individually procure the short code that matched their brand name from every CSP. Eventually, CSPs recognized the value of establishing a common short code program, which led to exponential growth in their use. It also allowed the industry to put in place rules and practices to govern what would and would not be tolerated, an essential underpinning of trust. 

Of course, there have been attempts to address trust with regulation, like the United States’ Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act wherein the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates the STIR/SHAKEN caller identification framework. STIR/SHAKEN enables CSPs to verify that caller ID information transmitted with a call matches the caller’s real phone number—establishing trust in the CSP-to-CSP handoff. As an industry and global society, we are in the early stages, but as more countries regulate and implement protocols, the global trusted connection factor becomes stronger.

Ultimately, the industry needs to have a global framework for exchanging trust between CSPs. A network-based global solution, like network-based branded calling, offers more potential over a solution contained within an app or a handset. It also addresses a challenge specific to the CSP, enabling them to extract more value from their network.

Integrating digital trust technology

Critical to realizing this from a technological perspective is the digital key that will establish trust, identity, privacy, and security. There is a precedent here, too. Encryption is already being used in STIR/SHAKEN with a unique identifier—the phone number—which is being used to authenticate the caller and therefore establish trust. Establishing trust is essential, as lack of trust is diminishing engagement, creating an aversion to traditional communication channels, and costing businesses significant time, money, and productivity. Fraud is on the rise, including account takeover fraud, caller-ID spoofing, imposter fraud, one-ring phone scams, and more. Businesses are having to constantly defend on all fronts, protecting against scams and from the potential takeover of their brand at the same time. But, a quagmire of federal


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