What technologies do you see changing / shaping the industry and how?
Within the telecommunications industry, the blockchain is being proposed for use in various applications such as securing call records, billing information and access logs, ensuring data authenticity, eliminating the need for audits or ensuring strict operational procedures for employees. However, there is one area where the use of blockchain technology has the potential to not only benefit the operators, but has a revolutionary impact on the way we all understand, use and protect our digital identities. 

Our phone number is our most important digital identity, and will remain the only unique international method of identification well into the future. The PSTN, which is wholly based on the use of phone numbers, is the largest social network ever built, and an ever increasing number of services are adopting this method of user authentication. But do we really have full control over our digital identity? What are the chances of us losing this most valuable digital asset, and are current number porting procedures efficient, safe and secure?

Number portability is a significant and important step towards transferring control of the phone number to its real owner, but this process has limitations and does not give the user true ownership over their greatest digital asset – the digital identity. We see the future where there is no longer a need for number portability. Instead, all the phone numbers should be managed in one global decentralized ledger, which will provide standardized access and routing lookup for all operators. Blockchain is the ideal technology to ensure full transparency, security and peace of mind for regulators, operators and, of course, users – the owners of the numbers. As a global operator with the responsibility of managing phone numbers for over one thousand operators in 73 countries, we see the importance and urgency in the adoption of this new protocol. We are well positioned to implement these ideas within our own network of operations and serve as a proof-of-concept for the industry.

We see this potential implementation of blockchain to be a real and highly beneficial advancement within the telecommunications industry. Clearly, such a global initiative would require the cooperation of all the operators and regulators and, of course, mass adoption and acceptance of this new technology by the end users. This is a large and revolutionary idea, but it should be possible – looking back just two decades ago, foreseeing the VoIP revolution would seem even more challenging.

What are new developments and initiatives that are exciting for your company in 2018?
SIP trunks for local dialing on a global scale, phone number selection and two-way SMS messaging are the most exciting new services that will be offered to our customers this year. In 2018, we will also enable customer access to our new network Mega POPs in Los Angeles, Miami and Singapore, enhancing the overall quality and reliability of our global IP backbone. Our global phone number coverage will continue to expand, to include Vietnam, Barbados, Jamaica, Curacao, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands, Taiwan and more. We are also planning to complete the commercial rollout of telecom.center™, an ecosystem for cloud-based apps and services. This ecosystem includes phone.systems™, a cloud-based virtual phone system with a unique and innovative drag-to-call user interface (UI) allowing optimum and intuitive usage, and call.center™, a multi-platform softphone with a cloud-based management interface for the last mile in VoIP. We believe that 2018 will be a year full of exciting challenges. We have the passion and a highly-motivated team to accomplish all our goals.

Why is ITW such an important industry event for you and your company?

Being present at expos is the best way for us to develop and cement relationships with our customers and partners. We use the best digital communications, but there is no replacement for face-to-face meetings. A significant component of our company’s growth is meeting our customers and understanding their needs. For us, ITW is the most important trade show for networking and market knowledge. It is already our ninth consecutive year as exhibitors, and every year of attendance underscores our view that ITW is the most important expo for achieving our company’s goals. The quality of exhibitors, attendees and the leads generated is the highest in the industry, and that is why we will continue to attend this event in the future.

Edwin Terek is a founder of DIDWW. He is an entrepreneur, business developer and visionary.