How does blockchain assist OSS?

Your first answer to the headline question today will probably relate to Bitcoin transactions. That would indeed be a clever answer but there is more potential in blockchain for OSS / BSS than just crypto-currencies.

I figure that it could be applicable for the following use cases and probably many more:

  1. Obviously billing reconciliation (and disputes) becomes superseded by the public ledger of the blockchain
  2. Data reconciliation across interfaces (particularly cross-party interfaces)
  3. Event transaction logging and management (eg automating the management of large numbers of sensors in an IoT network)
  4. Point of Interconnect (PoI) and network federation, especially in relation to the financial implications in point 1 above
  5. Automated contract handling (eg SLAs, QoS, delivery times, etc), such as the automatic triggering of actions if certain contractual criteria aren’t met (eg SLA threshold breach)
  6. Resource allocation (especially in virtualised networking)
  7. Licensing, particularly where transient resources are involved like virtualised networking
  8. Security / authentications
  9. Asset lifecycle management
  10. And the big one could be in the additional automation of ITIL processes

Thanks to my friend Mike for bouncing ideas around on this one! Interestingly, Mike feels that SSL could be made redundant, especially considering the rumoured security breach of some certifications back in 2011.

What opportunities do you feel blockchain opens up for OSS that I’ve overlooked?

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2 Responses

  1. could you give some details on how you imagine the use case for “Data reconciliation across interfaces” to be implemented on a blockchain?


  2. Great question Franz!

    Let me preface this by saying we sometimes get a bit carried away with new tech and claim new ways of using it unnecessarily – which is often the case with blockchain – when plain old databases could easily do the same task.
    Where blockchain comes into play is in its characteristics of being distributed / immutable and as a proof-of-work mechanism when tied to smart contracts.

    One of the examples I had in mind when writing this post was a complex data handover scenario for a client where there were:
    – two carriers involved,
    – multiple different business units within those carriers,
    – multiple handover / hand-backs as the data transitioned from one state of ownership to another,
    – data sets handled singularly (for transfer of single data units) but in aggregate (for payments for a whole service area / boundary),
    – third-party involvements (eg field audits, approvals, payments, SLAs) and
    – contractual ramifications (eg readiness for service, SLAs, payments, etc).

    The whole process was very manual, lengthy, prone to errors and very political. However, it did follow a quite consistent set of steps (ie not many side-loops). The concept I had in mind was to use smart contracts (on a blockchain) to track the various steps in the transition of each data set, demonstrate proof-of-work (in some cases a manual process, in some cases just auto-logging), to help automate the process, to speed it up and de-politicise it.

    Point of Interconnect sometimes have elements of these too, but generally don’t have quite the same complexity as the scenario described above.

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