HomeMobile Europe3GSM review - Have you got your ID?

    3GSM review – Have you got your ID?


    It’s who you know – and how you know them – that’s going to be important in the future, says Alun Lewis.

    Given the sheer size and scale of a 3GSM event these days, it’s become increasingly difficult in recent years to spot the start of really important major trends – beyond and above the usual promotional wallpaper about the latest technology fashion. Indeed, it’s more often a case of spotting what people aren’t talking about if you want to try and find out what’s really lurking below the surface froth.

    ” height=”<% height %>” align=”right” alt=”3GSM review – Have you got your ID?” class=”articleimage” />

    For me, one of the largely unspoken themes of this year’s show was around identity – both of the industry ‘previously known’ as mobile telecommunications and of the end user. On the corporate front, a number of previously high profile niche players had disappeared, absorbed into larger IT companies as part of their regular attempts to get into the telecoms sector. Cramer into AmDocs, Vallent into IBM, Portal into Oracle and Ubiquity into Avaya were just some of these recent acquisitions. Similarly, the attention generated by the content, adult, gaming, search and social networking sectors showed that

    While these are significant, there are far bigger questions surrounding how our own identities are managed in the infinitely connected world of the next few years – and indeed how the telecommunications industry is going to respond to this challenge. Some of this debate has already started, driven by the emergence of the Generic User Profile in IMS architectures, through it extends far beyond this as Rick Halton, product director at Apertio commented, “Security and privacy issues tend to grab the headlines but the real work to be done is around managing the multiple identities of today’s consumers. Customers may be accessing their services via their handset, a broadband connection at home or a public WiFi link. That’s three separate profiles and multiple IP addresses – all requiring various authorisation and authentication requests. That, however is just the tip of the iceberg. Introduce third party services into the mix – all of whom will hold different flavours of a single consumer’s identity and the complexity rockets.”

    These potential pitfalls for the industry were also highlighted at the show in conversation with the Liberty Alliance, who’d just released a freely available report authored by the Telecompetition Group entitled’ Digital Identity Management – a critical link to service success’. 

    The conclusions ? It makes grim reading for those service providers who have yet to grasp the identity nettle, concluding that, “While certain operators may be able to ‘beat the odds’ on a local basis, the overall picture is not pretty. The ability to use appropriate identity data, deliver a personal user experience and protect user identities is necessary to maintain the enviable market position that operators have had in the past. Indeed, a large percentage of network operator revenue is already at risk through the ubiquity of IP, convergence and the emergence of powerful ‘Webcos’ such as Google. While the deployment of an identity management solution is not the only factor that will preserve revenues, it is a fundamental platform – indeed requirement – for any company intending to be more than a bit-pipe in the future.”

    Indeed, it’s going to be richly ironic if the mobile industry eventually loses its identity through a failing to recognise the importance of identity in a wider context…..