What network challenges does the industry face as we head to the middle of 2018 and beyond?
Many carriers – smaller and mid-level ones with low creditworthiness for example – find themselves unable to meet credit terms required to finance major carrier payment terms. We have found that late, missed, fraudulent or defaulted payments are endemic in the industry. This leads to serious issues with cash flow. Carriers operating on low margins and minimal capital can be a bankruptcy risk. The culmination of these can result in losses into the tens of millions of dollars. These losses cannot always be recouped by insurance.

What technologies do you see changing / shaping the industry and how?
Blockchain technology will be a major solution that will change the way telecoms do business with one another. And that’s where TessPay comes in. By using blockchain technology in combination with TessPay Smart Contracts, we are able to create a shift in the way carriers process settlements, thereby resolving the issues of late, missed or fraudulent payments. This is how the TessPay solution works:

Smart Contracts offer liquidity that allows lender funding to prepay Smart Contracts for the benefit of all parties.

They offer payment assurance by settling in full, daily, eliminating the need to spend time managing cash flow.

Lower fees due to the reduction in wire payments.

Lower operating costs as TessPay uses a Cloud-based high-availability Class 4/5 switch, which eliminates switch, hosting and tech support costs. 

Smart Contracts allow our customers to focus on their core business because of the aforementioned benefits. 

What impact will industry changes (you describe the industry change) have on digital transformation plans within organizations?
The industry will be moving away from the traditional models of how they make and receive payments. The current model is unsustainable over the long run and has seen the demise of many smaller carriers due to basic financial issues. Why should anyone in the chain have to wait months for payments when we have the technology to make immediate settlements? This will help mitigate a number of financing issues faced by small and medium-sized telecoms. 

How important is SDN for the industry and what is your company doing to implement and deploy this technology capability?
TessPay is a consumer of network resources, so we are the beneficiary of increased SDN deployments. Where SDN has moved network resources to become programmable, we see telecommunications functions and protocols increasingly software defined and programmable, as demonstrated by the plethora of API driven Telco providers. We intend to offer the same developer focused APIs for our Smart Contract platform customers.  

Are you seeing Artificial Intelligence and/or Machine Learning deployed (or planning to deploy) in your business - and how?
Machine Learning algorithms continue to find useful solutions and insights for many data sets.  As TessPay’s data stream grows, we will incorporate data science to provide insights and expose our customers to advanced analytics. 

What broad trends do you see in telecoms in the next 12 months?
The industry continues a trend towards commoditization, putting downward pressure on margins, while data demand continues to increase.  The continued expansion of 5G will increase data flows and offer opportunities for OTT (over the top) providers.   Utilizing the expanding abilities of AI and algorithms, carriers will develop ways to monetize the data streams beyond usage charges. 

What are new developments and initiatives that are exciting for your company in 2018?
TessPay Smart Contracts are an exciting new initiative for our company.  Smart Contracts ensure that payments are made daily rather than 30 to 60 days out. It means that smaller carriers with lower creditworthiness are able to pay one another and the larger carriers without creating a credit deficit. The blockchain and the Smart Contracts interconnect wholesale telecom companies in a secure, transparent and are still private.

What technologies or solutions are inhibiting growth today and how do you see innovation adapting to solve that problem?
Again, the lack of transparency with financing is a major hurdle in ensuring prompt payments in the chain of telecom companies. Using old models that can’t keep up with the way business is done currently is widening the financial gap between smaller and mid-size carriers. TessPay is providing innovative solutions to meet these challenges, shrink the gap and create a more stable environment from which to do and grow businesses.

Why is ITW such an important industry event for you and your company?
ITW is very important for TessPay in that it offers us a place to speak to the telecom and other tech industry giants about our business model, use of blockchain technology and the solutions we have developed to eliminate the gaps in payment faced by telecoms. It also gives us an opportunity to connect with a variety of businesses, share our learnings and create relationships. It also allows us to create conversations to hear what pain points other companies may be experiencing and create solution models.

As CEO, Director and Founder of TessPay, a blockchain-based company, Jeff brings years of expertise to helping the company develop its Transaction Escrow Settlement system for supply chain payments. 

In 1990, Jeff graduated with a BSc in Commerce and Economics from the University of Toronto before joining Ernst & Young LLP as a CPA. In 1995 Jeff founded Wiznet Inc., an Internet service provider where he served as CEO until the company’s sale in 2004. Over his career, Jeff founded/co-founded Wiztel Inc., and Limitless Mobile, a US/UK mobile virtual network operator. He founded Powercases Inc., in 2014, where he remains a shareholder and Chairman.