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Blockchain enables greater transparency in media distribution

Following a successful blockchain proof-of-concept (PoC), PCCW Global points out a list of use cases, including targeted advertising and CDN optimisation, where federated information can be helpful.

In March this year, Colt Technology Services and PCCW Global, in conjunction with blockchain start-up Clear, undertook a trial that demonstrated how the inter-carrier settlement of wholesale international services could be automated through the use of blockchain.

By using blockchain technology, the PoC was able to reduce this labour-intensive process from hours to minutes, according to the companies.

Blockchain can be summarised as the “useful tool” in scenarios where multiple entities need to share information with each other in a “managed, trusted and federated manner”, said Shahar Steiff, assistant vice-president of new technology, PCCW Global.

He told APB: “Looking at it from a media perspective, consider, for example, a repository of content where each content distributor may list their content availability per region and allow a search engine to locate the content nearest to the customer to ensure premium performance.

“In a traditional database operated by a third party, it is not possible for a content distributor to know if the repository discriminate or favour certain distributors as the algorithms used are hidden.

“But in a blockchain-based repository, there is no centralised owner. All distributors own the ledger and the algorithm, and [everything] is thus transparent.”

The success of the PoC has provided PCCW Global with an understanding of the features of blockchain, Steiff added, and proposed a list of use cases where federated information can be helpful. These include targeted advertising, managed data transportation across multiple telecom carriers, and content delivery network (CDN) optimisation.

Colt and PCCW Global have further progressed their blockchain PoC, which is now supported by BT, HGC Global Communications, Telefonica and Telstra, all members of the ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF), a network of leaders from the world’s largest wholesale telecommunications carriers.

And with the addition of these four members, the initiative will expand the bilateral testing between Colt and PCCW Global to encompass a multilateral series of relationships among the wholesale telecommunications industry as a whole.

Steiff concluded: “It is clear that the main benefit of blockchain is in scenarios involving multiple entities. It offers a way to perform trusted transactions between untrusting entities.

“This requires collaborative efforts in development of the commercial and operational environments where this technology can flourish.”

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