The Corda Ecosystem at MEF19

This blog  was originally published by Thomas Spencer, R3, in R3 Publication on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The DCConnect, PCCW Global and R3 team at MEF19

Two weeks ago I attended the MEF19 conference in LA. This was an excellent conference, where leaders across our industry came together to collaborate on digital transformation and focus on delivering benefits for enterprise customers.

MEF has done excellent work in recent years implementing API standardisation across their association. Additionally, MEF has also been an excellent incubator of innovation. By bringing together leading carriers with technology providers, MEF has created an ecosystem of innovation that is pushing the boundaries of new technology.

The work being done across MEF to test and develop new blockchain capabilities for the telecoms sector is incredible.

At MEF19, R3 was especially proud to work with PCCW Global and DCConnect on a proof of concept to showcase how Corda can be used to track SLA performance metrics, in this instance it was service provisioning time across the DCConnect and PCCW Global networks, which were logged on Corda to create a “Carrier Performance Score”.

Amongst some in our industry, there is still concern that blockchain is a technology looking for a problem, or that it is indeed overhyped. For others, they fear that blockchain as a technology is solely focused on creating a new form of digital currency to be used for financial settlement.

Standing at the PoC booth over the course of the MEF19 conference, I was delighted to see attendees’ reactions when they saw our PoC. Here is a blockchain solution tackling a problem they hadn’t considered blockchain for and doing so in a highly compelling way.

The overwhelming reaction from attendees at the stand was, “wow this is interesting” and “this could be used in my business”. Although they probably wouldn’t have initially considered blockchain to be used as a technology for this use case, our PoC showed that it is, in fact, a natural fit. SLA reporting is a time consuming and often manual process across carriers. This is a problem that is going to be magnified with the increasing use of inter-connection services, and the drive for further automation.

I can’t help but also think this PoC was an excellent example of the R3 partner first strategy and a showcase of the growing Corda ecosystem in the Communication sector.

The truth is that before our excellent partners at DCConnect and PCCW Global approached us, we at R3 hadn’t considered SLA reporting as a use case either. This is because we at R3 obviously can’t have a deep insight into all of the unique use cases that Corda could be used for. However, our partners are uniquely positioned to understand their businesses, customers, and ecosystems far better than anyone else. In this scenario we were delighted to be approached by DCConnect, PCCW Global and MEF to support the PoC. The teams across DCConnect and PCCW Global did amazing work building the application on Corda and instigating the live trial, which we at R3 were happy to support.

Although the PoC was just an initial investigation into this use case, and there is plenty of work still to be done to understand how carriers could use an SLA performance metric in their business operations, this was an excellent example of the Corda ecosystem identifying a use case of value and rapidly moving to build an application to serve it.

Blockchain is a technology with a huge amount of promise in the telecoms and communications sector.

However, one critical success factor for its adoption will be the ecosystem of different application vendors and service providers collaborating and working together on the technology. A wide and deep ecosystem brings with it the wisdom of many to identify different use cases, the strength of robust technology providers and businesses supporting initiatives and the scale to exploit opportunities when they are developed. This is made possible when collaboration on top of a common blockchain like Corda happens.

This year the growth of the Corda ecosystem supporting the telecoms industry has been outstanding, and the MEF PoC showcased this fantastically. We are incredibly excited about all of the different applications and solutions that are being developed on Corda by a wide range of technology providers for the industry and look forward to seeing everything that gets brought to market in the future.