Frontier Talk

The Decentralized E-Commerce Story | Frontier Talk #7 - Dr. Michele Nati

In this episode, Raj Hegde sits with Dr. Michele Nati - Head of Telco and Infrastructure Development at #IOTA Foundation to understand how decentralization offers a fresh perspective towards marketplace transactions.

Tune in to this episode to explore how an international initiative comprising of banks, universities and telco providers comes together to safeguard the e-commerce ecosystem.

Hey guys, welcome to another episode of Frontier Talk, where we explore the intersection of identity people and technology. This platform in a sense was built to appreciate creatives of all kinds and, and six episodes later, it is fulfilling to see this appreciation of creativity, germinate so wonderfully across the entire spectrum. My guest on the pod today has spent two decades researching and designing solutions for the internet of things until he suddenly came across magic internet money, our Bitcoin, as they call it today, his fascination with blockchain and distributed ledgers led him to build and develop decentralized initiatives across telecommunications and smart cities here to share his take on the increasingly important role of decentralized identity in telco, Dr. Michele Nati, the head of telco and infrastructure development at Iota Foundation. Michele, I'm thrilled to have you on the pod today.
Thank you, Raj. Thank you everybody. Thanks for the frontier talk podcast to having me. I'm very pleased to be here and yeah. Talk to you in this afternoon from my house in London.
Thank you. Likewise, likewise Michele. It's an absolute pleasure to have you on the podcast today. Could you start off by telling us a bit about the Iota foundation? What is Iota and what kind of stuff do you work on as the head of telco and infrastructure development? Yeah.
Oh, thank you. You actually said it. Right. So I started my journey in the, in the technology domain. Yeah. Almost to the case. I go, yeah. As a student, the student, I spent quite some time in academia, searching internet of things and focusing as well on trust and help people manage their data. And I ended up just three years ago, working for the foundation. I got the foundation, it's a not-for-profit organization, which is focused on developing the centralized and distributed ledger technologies, which are, let's say the sister, the biggest sister of blockchain and Bitcoin and the tea room with the same properties, but definitely many more benefits that we have seen from, from this initial uptake of this, a bit of technologies, the foundation works and operates across the ward. It's at quarter in, in Germany, although we are the centralized organization and we have a lot of people working remotely, all of us worked remotely almost everywhere in the, in the world.
We have 25 nation, probably more color without a employee. So we applied, distributed as a technology. And as, as a company, our main objective is to bring the distributed ledger technology that we'll build to market, to adoption in the industrial trend to solve a real world problem. But yeah, word problem. That call it three domains, mainly supply chain and global trade automotive and the telecommunication industry, the telco sector, where I am in charge of. So basically we try to see in my domain, the domain of work for what kind of problems, the telecommunication industry as the traditional telecommunication industry, that one that deal with the voice call and data platform for, for that customer can be solved with internet. I started with the combination of internet of things and that yatta yatta ledger, and this be the lecture as well as use of the technology and the telco to create a new infrastructure for new connected domain. So communication and connectivity is at the backbone of every new as mark domain can be a smarter manufacturing, can be a smart cities and the telecommunication operator have to provide any plus structure, which is reliable and trusted. All of these can create opportunity for distributed ledger technologies to play a role. And this is what I'm exploring and trying to understand needs and trying to leverage and build partnership collaboration and create projects that prove the value of the technology that we offer. This ledger technology in this specific domain.
That's awesome. Sounds really exciting. We hope to, to explore as many domains as we can offer telco moving forward on this podcast. So speaking about telecommunications, how would you describe the status quo of the telco industry since the invention of the telephone about a century ago? You know, I'm curious about the possibilities that you mentioned that are out there for telco providers beyond communication services. Could you perhaps highlight some of these for us?
Yeah, absolutely. Like, like I mentioned before, the telecommunication industry is quite a big ecosystem that is evolving and now as well with the evolution of services that most of them reside in the cloud is becoming more and more complex as well as the more need for quantity that comes from IOT device, our wearable device, mobile phones, first of all. So the telecommunication industry is trying to reinvent themselves to find a new space moving from what it was until now in the past, what was the, the infrastructure itself? So we have communication service provider, those that build them, provide the infrastructure. Now we start to see a lot of different services sell off of different opportunity to be explored, to be provided provided. So we have also the advent of 5g. So 5g creates now much more visualization possibly to create other configuration of this infrastructure, adult configuration of architecture for delivering new services and telecommunication industry to stay upfront of this innovation need to evolve.
What is their static infrastructure? What was their initial infrastructure that provide the traditional voice service and then data to provide much more, let's say, flexible infrastructure for deploying in this case, like I said, a smart connected domain. So if you think about smart cities, if you think about smart energies, all of these required connectivities required device, sensor, IOT device that connect and share data with the cloud and then eventually trigger some action, some feedback loop. So all of these goes across domain grows across sector growth across one telco operator, telco operators. So we can't imagine that all IOT device and as much CDs can connect to one network or another. So at the intersection of this, there is the infrastructure management that is the need of trusting the exchange of information between different infrastructure to trust the provisioning of service that interconnect to different infrastructure and the, to generate this, this value that the infrastructure has a wall from different providers can share it.
So with the telecommunication industry, we explored many domains at all about connected, smart cities, smart health. We are working in some project where you can imagine that a doctor sitting in his room can perform an operation in, in, let's say, you know, theater, operation theater, somewhere else on their side of the world. And he has to control some robots, have to control some machine. All of these goals in telecommunication that starts from where the doctor is ghosts around the world from different networks, one order. And there is the need to provide the service that is expected to perform this operation in all safety, without any risk for the patient. So all of these required established meant of agreement that needs to be mindful to me to be guaranteed and need to be audited. So this is where for instance, a distributed ledger can provide the platform where trusted information immutable information can be stored and can help this industry to progress and create and collaborate together. So there are just few example of how telecommunication providers now are responding there or eyes-on of service that they can provide, and they have to find a platform to work together and collaborate together across of the way.
Brilliant. I mean, it sounds like a future that I'd like to be a part of. And, you know, speaking about infrastructure development, you know, this symbiosis of the internet with the physical economy seems to be, have having a quiet, quite the knock-on effect on every sector imaginable here on this podcast. For instance, we've, you know, we've covered the automotive industry, the pharma industry, and now telecommunications, you know, no area of the global economy can innocence avoid a strategic realignment of some magnitude. So my question to you is what are some of the threats that are uniquely vulnerable to telco providers and how serious is the risk of them actually becoming obsolete?
Oh, that's absolutely. Yeah. Part of what I mentioned before. So, so far telecommunication operator mainly focused on building the infrastructure. And then on top of that, you have, we'll help them. We'll provide service to manage this infrastructure, which are the OSS operation, operation support system provider. And then you have, we'll provide the business functionality, the BSS, the business support services, and those, again, help with the billing, with the charging of customer and so on and so forth. So, so far telecommunication operator have been basically building the infrastructure, maintaining the infrastructure, but then leveraging somebody else's service to monetize and display this infrastructure. And now that is one of the credits that is coming is coming mainly from the cloud industry, because having everything in the cloud, every, all the function in the cloud Mitch mix makes life much easier. So, and there is at risk exactly for telecommunication operator to become obsolete.
So to have basically that infrastructure offer to cloud providers can monetize this infrastructure by combining service providing service orchestration all in one point. So they start to rent infrastructure, cloud provider and develop services. So what they need to do the club telecommunication industry. Now it's at the, at the verge of changing and try to become service providers themselves to either work as a, as integrator of new service of developer of new service, or try to collaborate with other partners. So, and one thing that we are doing is actually, we are exploring this model of new collaboration in the TM forum. So I got as part of the TM forum Alliance. So it's, it's an Alliance of over 8,000 members in the telecommunication industry of different levels. And we work with the telecommunication operators. So we work in what is called innovation activities, what is called catalyst forum catalyst.
And then we have telecommunication operator, the lack of foreign team. We are working at the moment, telecom, Italia, mobili. So are so-called the champion of new challenge that, and this, by setting this challenge, they explore working with the cloud provider, like a yatta. They can jointly solve the challenge, what kind of benefit that can be to the industry. And also what kind of resource, what kind of model of working. They need to reinvent in their domain in order to be the new provider of this new service that can help them to fight against all their parents, take their place in the service provision.
Right. And, and with all the complexities of the telecom industry, it's easy to forget that without customers, you have nothing in a sense. So how can telcos innocence retain and emphasize focus on the customer journey about what else?
Yeah. Yeah. You're absolutely guide so far. The telecommunication industry will say, and the telecommunication operator at, at yes, real our role that actually was predominant because they were managing infrastructure. They were collecting data from that customer. If you think about CLT call records and things like this and that customer itself. So yes, but again, like we said, there always, and internet service might be not enough anymore. Might be not for instance, let's say not only focus on, on people. Now you have focused on device connectivity of device, connectivity of medical device create new services. So we will see different in those, in different domains focusing also on diabetes. So the different providers focusing on that UT side now, so Vodafone for instance, is focusing a lot on IOT, on providing connectivity of things. And IOT are, there is one thing as well that makes the telecommunication industry in a good position to innovate is the element of identity and the centralized identity.
They called embrace this. Hopefully they will embrace this. We are working on that, but they are the custodian of many customer information about the dent. So when you go and you have to buy your, your theme, you want to connect your phone. You go through a process of which is called KYC. Know your customer and telecommunication operator are the only fuel together with banks, probably that they are able to know exactly that will claim to be is actually who is with this person. So when you have to buy your phone, you have to buy your seat. There is a total process that established this strong link between you and your device. And this is somebody that can help them to innovate, retain customer by providing services that are tailored to the person, the top personalized services. This is a very crucial element to create innovation. So ability of knowing a customer and providing service that resolve around the customer, the customer habits, it's something that is a very important element, even more important than, than the service that your certain service that Facebook can provide because that entity link between you and your device itself is much more stronger than your Facebook profile. And so me that an AI algorithm can infer about your behavior from a, from a profile that is not verified,
Right. That serves as the perfect segue to my next question. You know, this intersection of, of teleco and identity is an interesting one. Why, because it is something that has not been explored to date. You know, most people often associate telco with communication. We know why the phone, so to say, and the identity element more or less gets lost in the process. So, so my question to you is why is decentralized identity important to the telco industry?
Yeah, yeah, it's very important. Like I said before, it can be the way the telco industry it's innovating and providing the gateway for, for many of that service that people can benefit. But this identity, the link that established a telco operator between me and my device need to go be outside of the, the telco domain. So this identity can be held inside the, the, the, the specific operator database. So you need to become a new form of identity to become a decentralized identity. The entry point of course, is the operator that assess my identity, my, my real identity, and can link. It can stay the same, but this information need to be now given back to the, to the, to the user of the device, to the phone, to the user of the phone, for instance, in this case, as a credential, as somebody that the telco operator sign for the all world of service that exists, it can be, it can be used as a passcode for going and leverage different service.
So what telco operator have the opportunity to become the, the political become identity provider in, at the centralized identity war credential provider that states different attributes about me in the decentralized identity war, but let this identity to go out of their system and to be used to connect to the front other system all with the trust that is initially established by the trust that the verification process, the telco printer do on their customer Briggs. So that cooperator becomes these. They need to see a new business model. Of course we are, we are exploring that we're exploring the way on which this can be monetized in which way, this effort initially down to establish the link between the customer and their identity. Now exposing this to the world, then giving actually control to the customer in a decentralized way to be used outside of the physical domain.
For instance, to, I don't know, login into your SmartHome product of things like this. So how we can now send back some of that little value now that the telco industry sharing out of there for they have done for creating this decentralized identical credentials. So all of this is part of an, is part of understanding what are the new business model from the centralized identity that will incentivize their cooperators to respond and let this knowledge about customers to go out. Of course, always in a privacy preserving way in a GDPR compliant way. That's the other element that we discuss. But the main element is to understand the real business model behind that. So the real business model of telco operator being now with the knowledge identity provider, or let's say credential provider, you know, the centralized mental work,
Right, just in case our audience doesn't get lost in the process, could you perhaps define decentralized identity for us? And how is it different from, from identity as we know it today beyond the centralization element? Yeah,
The centralized identity very much is a concept linked to a distributed ledger technologies with the advent of distributed ledger, digital ledgers of the placental, the Colts in the European complex, there is the possibility to create immutable information and this information now in the context of this centralized identity, this immutable information, it's an identity, it's an ID, let's say that they identify a person or another. So everybody now can claim its own identifier. So this is called self-sovereign identity. So everybody can establish this identifier, a sequence of, let's say, number of letters, which is unique by bragging this intellectual. So into what is into a ledger. It's immutable is there. And if there is a copy, it won't be possible. So we'll be spotted. So you become the owner of your unique identity, visual identity. So usually this a digital identity is controlled by public and private key.
So usually they start random, probably key that is this, this I identify you. And there's a public private key that is held by the, by the owner of this identity. So now with this information what's is that everybody has an identity as an identifier that is unique and it's self sovereign. I control this identifier. I don't need to ask somebody else to create this, identify it for me. So when now with this identifier, what I can do, I can start to collect what are called that if I ever credential what I've called, statement attributes of my identity. So for instance, my license now become, but if I ever convention, so, and now this become a verifiable credential, it becomes a verifiable credential because the registry of diving license, license authority as an identity itself, and that's an identity that is verified and what they do, they sign a certificate with a sign with their identity to process required, to use private key, to sign any digital certificate and will contain the information about my identifier and will be given to me, will be stored in my device.
So as a digital certificate, now, when I go and want to present this identity to let's say anybody that to verify my identity of fiber, a driving license, for instance, an officer that stopped me the street, I present this digital credential with just sign and what they do with it, basically read that this digital credential contain my identifier, this random number that they claim it's it's on by me. And they will just have to verify that the signatory comes from a trusted, a trusted source and what they will do that. We'll go and try to verify the signatory again, using the ledger, checking with the identity is the driving license office behind the Cigna. And they will verify that and they will trust me. So what this does this remove the need for intermediary? So this removes the need for presenting the driving license in a paper form, for instance, and the officer to have to go and check with the office that first of all, the, the driver license is not fake and then put the driving license somewhere in some system and they go and check and connect to the system. And the problem will happen that the system might not be last in some Italian need to be checking in England, need to connect them to the system in Italy only to connect to the system in England. So connecting to one source of truth, which is the ledger makes things much more easier and gives control on the identity itself to the owner of the entity and the credential itself, the owner of the credential, not anymore to a third party post this information awfully made a bit more clear about, yeah, let's say
Absolutely. That was a very clear detail Lancer to keep it short. It essentially is, is this wallet that you have with your identities, but it's just that you are in full control of your identities and it's nowhere else, but in your wallet. So, yup.
As in digital format, and it only requires, let's say to keep it short, when you present this digital credential, it only requires one interrogation to a platform, which is a distributed ledger to know that this body, but not, it doesn't require so many checks. It doesn't require to talk to many other offices is that you can trust when, when you get this information from the lecture.
Brilliant. Thanks for that explanation, Michele. Appreciate it. So, so what's the, what's the business value of decentralized identity in the telco industry? Is it a technology in search of a problem to solve, or is it the other way around? Is there a killer use case?
I will say that the killer use case for me ideally, will be in transferring this identity now that I have, and I can create in a centralized way and that kind of stuff to leave credential that's for instance, a telecommunication industry knows about, about me. And that means me that for instance, I live in a specific address and so on and so forth to what, to transfer these to the device that I own. So to my IOT device. So now not only my me and my phone will have an identity, but I can create from my phone and identity. Now that goes to my, to my watch, that goes to my other device, wearable device and so on and so forth what this means. So for instance, so if you think about this device being medical device now, so it's medical device. If it's used to track my condition or use it even to track that, for instance, I am receiving some specific treatment, some special treatment, and I am entitled for this special treatment.
So there is trust in the device. So there is no more risky that this device it's end over to somebody else that actually as the right condition, and then somehow creating some kind of a vicious loping, which I, I benefit of somebody that shouldn't benefit. So, and otherwise device identity is very weak. So whenever you call, you buy a device, a new IOT device or a wearable device, the identity of those devices very weak. So it just the unidentified that the manufacturer gives, and there is no way to link to a person to establish this identity to a person. So by no, I think that's an established entity that is already digital and that telecommunication industry can give to me all these can mix much more trusted IOT device. And if you think about now 5g, for instance, and the bill to create a virtual network, all of that is based on slicing the concept slicing is basically using a portion of a 5g infrastructure, which is used to send data for a specific purpose.
And this is located, and this has to be located to specific device and daily class, the device. Now, for which I can establish a trust that the entity of where this device belongs to, I can provide much more security to now I look at this slide, so I don't have the risk anymore, or locate this license for using the infrastructure to some malicious device or some device that want to just use the infrastructure, create some denial of service attack and somehow create disruption for the services. So in this way, having a trusted identity device, I can create a strong and secure link between the IOT device. I can start to process also the device would want to use the infrastructure in this case, the telecommunication infrastructure.
Okay. And speaking about this intersection of yeah. Teleco infrastructure devices and things in general, I'm curious to learn more about the applications of DLT and SSI in the e-commerce space. So, you know, iota was recently in the news having joined the insurance sec project. So could you perhaps enlighten the audience about what insurance tech actually is and, and what is Iota's role specifically in this project? Yeah,
Yeah, exactly. So we were moving out to one of these sorts of own domain where we stopped from the, from the tail combat. We ended up to, to send me that his model or its own talent. That's, let's say what they call the infrastructure side, which is not only the telecommunication infrastructure is the infrastructure for our life and communication and data sharing as well as part of my role. So as part of this, we are involved in one of these projects funded by the European commission is called insured sec. And the main ambition of insured sec is basically they want to create a more secure, let's say e-commerce ecosystem aware e-commerce is basically me buying something online. And basically there are different approach that the project is taking for, for doing this from monitoring different e-commerce platform and understanding possibility for threat risk, from a cyber physical attack of this critical infrastructure.
Where are your, this also play a role in providing the infrastructure for storing this monitoring information? I will be saw audit-able accountable with, with the ledger. So what we are actually exploring, we are exploring exactly the role of the centralized identity, the commerce domain. So, and again, what we are doing, we start from all the eCommerce player, which are in this case bank, but again, telecommunication industry is the same. So banks and telecommunication, industry, telecommunication provider, again, identity information about the customer, and they allow for instance, customer to create their identity, their credential. So for instance, think about now a customer that wants to poor chase something that as an age limit, right? So what would be the normal process processes these days? So there are a plus it will be that you go to a website and most of the time you're being asked either to confirm that you are above 18, or maybe you are a registered, a registered customer.
And this, this information that you have to provide is basically maybe your credit card and so on and so forth, probably sensitive information. And the seller will have to verify this and we'll bring a cost for them. So they will bring groceries to, because some of the sellers more sellers and they have to provide systems that are secure, that can store your information, that can handle information, a privacy compliant, way secure way and so on and so forth. It's a bit cost, especially for small sellers. So if you think about now with the pandemic and many new sellers, Small seller try to also sell to zero carbon impact being closed. They, they merged. So they cannot support the burden of having this kind of system. So what role can play it decentralized identity banks, and for instance, a telecommunication operator that can help to create this decentralized identity so they can help create and give to me in my wallet credential that says, I am above a team just four days on because I have 40 cents of bank account with this bank.
So they have to do this work already. They have to collect this information about me already. So they know they have already done this job, or maybe because when I opened my, create my seam for my, for my phone contract, they have to verify this information and so on and so forth. That's information that exists. And there is no reason for which shouldn't be reuse. So now when I have to go to the, to buy this age limited item, so I don't need to give any more information about me that has to be verified and so on and so forth and might be need to be handled in the right way. What again is just a credential that the bank give to me that states it it's above 18. So what they basically like the sample before what the, the commerce seller will do. We'll just verify with one query to the ledger that this credential it's a bark and they don't need to do any, anything else that sometimes they don't even need to know how old I am, because there are other technology like Cedar lodge proof that tells the verifier to know that I am above a T, but not a 24.
I wish I would be, or, or, or another age. So all of these create a much easier user experience for customer, a much more easier process to handle this information for e-commerce providers. So what and less risk would be the point of fact, tack from Barker and Southern fiscal spread. So that's one of the things we are exploring in initial sec and the role of identity and the role of these players like bank and telecommunication operator to expose the information that they know for accessing other services.
Right. I'm curious to know, as a follow-up, you know, what's in it for, for banks or telco providers to act as an identity credential provider in a de-centralized manner.
Yeah, no, absolutely. That's, that's, that's, that's the point to, to clear up and to create the incentive, like I said before, the business model to be understood and explored, but it's also quite immediate because they create this identity and they can, at the same time use the ledger and the traceability that ledger and transparency that ledger offer to monitor or to understand every time the credential that they issue to me as been presented and that's been verified. So all of this can, can create a flow back of information. And eventually we can also use a cryptocurrency, like either doesn't have any fee for sending back a little value to this provider of identities bank. So every time that the credential that a bank as issued to meet as being used, the, the value, a little value, a little mic micro payment can be sent back to the, to the bank that is sort of generator of this.
So, and there is, there is, there is value in doing this because like I said before, the e-commerce, there's more eCommerce provider now that can verify and be compliant to the load very easily, my age, and send and sell, selling me what I am actually asking. Doesn't have any more of the cost of collecting information, going, maintaining the information. So there is a saving already for them. So, and this saving can be transferred as a payment, a little micro payment to the identity provider or credential provider, let's say the bank and the bank itself as a fault that the cost at the beginning to, to all this, but that cost is usually a one off. And now slowly start to pay back for every time that is used, which is much more, let's say a bigger opportunity than using only for the purpose of the bank.
So initially this information and this cost is to stay by the bank on the, for give me a bank account. And this one of course is a one of cost for one part post and stays there forever. If now that one of cost, you can somehow monetize over time for many other purposes, then there is an incentive as well for, for exploring this, this opportunity. So, and this is a few of the models that the centralized, the ecology identities together with ledger and cryptocurrency or token, let's not talk about necessarily carbon yet on exchange market, but token and tokenization of new form of play. The tracing of payments can bring value now to this simplicity in both ways.
Brilliant. And speaking about distributed ledgers, you recently carried out a survey amongst e-commerce experts asking about the role of DLT ledgers in, in this space. Could you perhaps shed some light on, on the results of the study?
Yeah, it was, it was through, so what we are doing is seen already by the aspect as by the community to, to, to add value, but in general, yes, the community also accrued to recognize that cryptocurrency and token can be used to pay for, for services in a way that also creates some kind of, first of all, a much more agile way to pay. So instead of invoicing and pay, you can pay pretty much every other time. When you offer a service and consumer the service period of time, you can have some kind of traceability around payments that can establish also good, the bad behavior off we'll actually provide services and get paid and pay and would asset I'll do that. And , but they also recognize that for instance, this might face moderate in terms of regulation and especially south the cryptocurrency, that software for a, a big fluctuation in the, in the, in that price.
So things might be not a hundred percent, a hundred percent mature, but again, there is possibility to innovate, possibly to remove some of the friction that already currently exists. The other aspect is about the game identity and productive identity, especially prior to identify different goals and avoid counterfeiting. For instance, again, using the centralized identity, this is an important aspect, and we are also exploring, and this was also one of the feedback from, from, from the community. We also exploring the, the use of the centralized identity for tracking delivery of coats. And for instance, travel tracking when, when I go to the, an identity, correct to the right recipient and correct in terms of time delivery. So this, the, the ledger gives a much more powerful ability in case of delivery or not processing time, like you are expected the so in case of refund and so on and so forth. So this was very interesting feedback that we receive on where distributed ledger can play a role in the, in the commerce domain.
Brilliant. So DLT, so DLT is definitely have strong applications, particularly in the supply chain side of things. So there's a lot of talk about NFT is non fungible tokens these days. So I have to ask you this question. Is there a role for NFTs in the decentralized e-commerce story?
I would say yes. And somebody also mentioned this, somebody mentioned this, I think in the ticket industry, they say yes, in the commerce ticket industry at the bank can become non fungible token. So it's an easier way to distribute tickets for you for events and tomboy, the middleman, the tearing between this chain and all the fees and the other aspect and other things personally, I think that NFTs, that stands for non fungible token. Yeah. Men, men, men will know. And that clearly not that not fungibility, it's very difficult, especially when you want to create an unconscionability with respect to let's say something that it's physical and transferred to the, to the digital world. So, and in my opinion, I think the and the connection with her art industry and the selling of art, all this it's very promising. And I think it's a very, it's a very interesting marketing, interesting domain.
And I think we'll see this already emerging in many different ways, mainly with digital digital art, let's say that is negatively unique, and then she'll be an Ft. I see this also now taking place when we have the right technology to digitize and to establish the link between physical and gift. Well also to the real art to digitize real art, and then to make it a non fungible token. And this makes much easier to exchange to trade and to yeah. To somehow speculate also on or relax, but also create the, remove the problem of storing very expensive piece of art. So you can store in your wallet, but other than your house. So it's, it's a very prominent, promising domain for me. So that kind of domain with an FTE, so more other domain might be a bit yeah. To stretch Butterfinger. Yes. And if the and art are very, are very interesting and I'm looking forward to, to see more and more happening that the main,
Likewise, me too. So we spoke broadly about different business applications, business models potentially made possible by decentralized identity in e-commerce, but the question remains why now?
Huh? Why now? Yeah, I would say now, first of all, we have the technologies. We have distributed ledger technologies that of course we had already in the past, but some of them were not designed in my opinion for this not necessarily the same know and my opinion for this identity. We can imagine now that identities people, we are 7 billion now. Not all, all of us is digital. So probably with the, let's say alpha of this, we have IOT device that were estimation for 20 billion, 30 billion. I don't know how many we have now. So we need the cloud. You also that distributed ledger, blockchain that are also scalable. And we start to see some of them mentioned now. So one of that I have to mention, I worked for a year for a reason because I believe in, I believe in what the ledger can offer.
And I allegedly start ledger at scales and scales. For instance, for this kind of domain, it's kind of scenarios, a volume of transaction that identical IOT device requires. And also we need a distributed ledger or blockchain distributed ledger offered the same immutability properties of blockchain that also are free to use in a sense that they don't eat them, costs like fees to use the infrastructure, to create an identity. Like I said before, you can imagine to create identity for a billion of devices. If every transaction that create this an entity as a cost, as a cost saving, that is unpredictable. In some case, like can be the fees that you're touch to a Bitcoin transaction or in transactions. You all know about that. So some of our more mature, of course, that's the first, the first element use case start to become much more clear.
Now the ecosystem is also quite clear. So the incentives opportunity that I discussed before for the different parties, going from the identity issuer or credential issuer to the verifier start to become much more clear. And that is at the same time, different standardization activity, correct. After the initial idea. So initially the idea of the centralized identity was mainly driven by the fact that let's give identity to who doesn't have an identity. And there is no other way, there is no government there. So perhaps we have to find a different way. So, but now there is also that the idea that the centralized identity can also be a bit more efficient than other identities, because we are not replicating information all over the place, just for the sake of creating me, my registration to one domain, to one service then for another service and so on and so forth.
So there is the understanding also that these are these security risk, privacy risk. So that are start to merge this product. GDPR, if you're doing the right way, also help with that respect to start to think to new model, to manage identity, instead of always collecting data and information, that is the principle of data minimization. So you can easily minimize data. If you let somebody else create an identity and you let her this identity, yeah, there are many other things coming together. Now there is also European commission starts to look into that. They start to explore how the can, what will be the Fisher of a digital wallet that every European citizen should Def by 2022. And in parallel to this, they're reforming also their initial network for managing identity and service at the European level, which is called ADAS network is moving from a centralized system where identity information are collected by member state and shared across member state now to other centralized network, where information about identity might be collected by one member state. This is the state where live, but then can be verified by an order of just with an infrastructure is with the ballistic, with the ledger, the centralized identity. So there is, there is the convergence of many different trend that goes from technology availability, business understanding, and the push from government to explore the centralized identity just now and make it big in the next few years.
Amazing stuff. Michele, one thing's for sure is that is that we can all look forward to a very optimistic future of decentralized identity moving forward. Finally, I'm curious to know what is the area of innovation that McKellen Nazi is spending most of his time on at the moment?
Huh? Yeah. I would say that at the moment I should be the telecommunication industry and I'm doing that, but there are a few other project I'm involved, but all of them have this trend of prior to see the impact of the centralizer, the entity and what the centralized and we can do from, from a person down to an organization down to advise that an organization own and manage the, so this is where the, they, they let's say they innovation also that clause a bit of the cycle I have in my, in my, in my, in my professional life, which maybe won't close, but if you'll open another one, but I stopped from IOT when basically it was on was called wireless sensor networks. So you can connect a device to the internet, you have to connect for the device in a mesh network, and then finally to the internet.
So, and the very early stage of my career, I was focusing mainly on make this device, collect data, sensing the environment, and then reach a destination point where this information can be analyzed. Then I focused on analyzing this information and try to start knowledge. And then I start to see that this information has some kind of personal data, most of the time that need to be protected and secure. And then I start to move a look into a distributed ledger as a way to protect that. So, and to give people control on their data. So I was part of the, my data movement from the very early 2015, and now the best expression of personal data and control of data is control of my identity. It's control of identity, creating my identity, creating credential, and use them and use for my device use for the services. And that's why I'm trying to now see where I can make most of the impact by combining the trend of the centralized identity technology that is very suitable for this like a Yoda and the other skills that I have matured over over the years of collaborating and working innovation project projects, mainly public funded to the European commission, but also in this new domain that I'm taking care of. That is the telco industry inside the TM forum, innovation activities,
Amazing stuff. McKella this show is called frontier talk for a reason. And that's because we have frontiers, like you explore us like you on this podcast, right? So it's, it's, it's now time. My favorite part of the show, and that's called the frontier fire round where I put my guests on the spot with a series of rapid fire questions. So Michele, are you ready?
Yeah, let's say,
Okay, let's go describe yourself in three words.
I can see that. Yeah.
Innovative. And let's say I'm a Miranda. I don't know if it's three months, so it's a bit more, but yeah, that's, that's one of the things that I would like to always mantra because when I start to run at the ground before, I think that type of thing is possible, it's suffering, but in the end it will be possible.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you need to be stubborn to like develop habits. So being a runner, you really need to be stubborn to do that. Yeah. What's your mantra in life Michele.
Sure. If it's a month Roberta, I repeat myself that it can always get better. So I, I tried to be positive. Somebody will say that it can always get worse, but I would say that it can always get better. So absolutely. I tried to base myself and worked over that. So, yeah.
Beautiful. What's that? What's a book you'd recommend to our audience.
I will say because we talk about blockchain a lot and that's the S and the, I will say this day, somebody in crypto wars, which is a book from an English shorter Erika sample, which is actually running on a very interesting meetup, also here in London. And it's going through the different opportunity that you have with a cryptocurrency real opportunity, but also the real threats, especially for those that see an easy way to make money and everything turns into scan and at least all the different scam that happened indicate to me that it's easy to read. And everybody actually that is, is fascinated by this. The virus war should read to understand not only what is everything shiny, shiny, and the ability to probably keep happening in the past as well to make money quickly, but also what that's, what are the reasons behind that? So, because I keep saying that is good, but you need to understand the technology. You need to understand what you are buying or threat to buy or what you are trying to make money out of it. So you always to be careful, it's a, it's a very interesting technology. This'll be the ledger and blockchain, but that's being used also sometimes in the, in the wrong way. And people should be aware,
Right? Speaking about London, formerly of the EU, you know, the EU has not been software centric traditionally. So kind of be a hotspot for decentralized identity,
Definitely this, and definitely they are there. As I mentioned before, they start to understand the barrier in the south working toward that. So there are different initiatives now to try to establish this requirement for digital wallet, to also understand what kind of infrastructure a government can offer. So we talk about the centralized identity before in the role of the ledgers, but there are many ledgers sub there, there are one standard, the centralized identity, a few standard for the centralized identity for W3C, for instance, the world wide web consortium, by the different platforms, different technologies. And every time you need a ledger underneath to do that. So, and there is, there is calls of fragmenting, these, and there is a risk of not having interoperability and so on and so forth. So, and European commission is also investing in what is a pan European, blockchain or disability infrastructure is called the FC European blockchain service infrastructure.
So the European commission is really, you is really investing in new technology and emerging technology. And on top of that, in the self-sovereign identity and the possibility to build that. So I would say that get for weapon or in this case, yes, not being a software centric. We are not the Silicon valley, but we are somehow we have at least a government European government that is looking in a unified way in try to start with some innovation in this space and can really bring, bring some novelty. And the put the Euro European Europe, I heard of many other companies domain.
Brilliant. That's great news for anyone looking to build such solutions, moving forward, name a person who inspires you and why
I will say that it's not in the technology domain, not in my domain, but it's my other passion. Let's say my personal passionate, my, my, my professional one it's Elliot keep joggy, which is a marathoner. So probably everybody heard about team. He managed to run a sub two hour marathon in Vienna last year. And it's a very simple athletes that lives in Kenya, not leaving a shiny life in front of the camera, but he gets things done and he believes in what he does. And he believes that there is not no limit if you really are pursuing your, your goal and especially what to learn. And what everything about running is all about is consistency. And that's the most important things if you want to achieve no matter that the target or the goal or the important is to be consistent in what you're doing and repeat yourself and try to work toward the goal rather than expect that the goal comes to you. So, and that's a clear example of what yeah. Inspires me. And yeah, you can transfer this into many other domain, but it starts from not technology yet.
Brilliant. That answer really ties down well with your, your previous answer about, you know, always think positive and the chips are down and the staying consistent and staying true to what you do. And finally, what's your advice to anyone listening to this podcast?
Ah, that's a, that's a very, well, I don't know. We talk about blockchain. We look about all distributed ledger. I will say that. Yeah. Be careful of yeah. Your, your, your informational line. So we talk about identity and the centralized identity. So I think the way the life and information that we got, we give out online. So it's very important. So we need to be careful. Now we protect them and especially we will be able to protect it even more if you use the centralized at the entity. So I bought everybody to explore what the centralized identities, even offline outside of this podcast, because the Mo the most important things now it's educate people. And we saw that people now already struggle with managing a green pass and getting past can also be done as a decentralized identity and credential. So we start to get into that.
We start to become more digital. We start to understand more the value of information about me and our managed to give access. So, but there is a lot of education behind that and data literacy and yeah. Technology, yeah. Understanding. So there is also a way for non-technical people to help in translating this, this, this, this innovation into Swami that everybody can understand. And my advice is also, yeah, we need to look to the centralized identity in a more, let's say interdisciplinary way for all the aspects. We talk about technology. We thought, come out, go, sorry, technology. We talk about business model, but also how the technology user experience all these aspects need to be explored. And then we'll be happy to explore with, with interest, the listener of this podcast,
Brilliant Michele, as you know, this podcast was created as an attempt to evangelize the technology as far as we can, and to anyone, you know, looking to evangelize the technology in, in whatever domain that you are in, you know, just use the attributes that Michele just mentioned, which is to stay consistent, positive, and collaborative, and things will fall into place. Eventually. Michele, thank you so much for your time. It was an absolute pleasure speaking with you today. And I hope to see a lot more of your work come to fruition in the coming months and years ahead. Thank you so much.
Pleasure was mine. Thank you very much. That
Was Dr. Michele Nati. He will be speaking at the European identity and cloud conference EIC. So go out and get it tickets. As soon as possible, you can find the link to the tickets in the description box below. I hope you enjoyed this conversation that dabbled around philosophy. E-commerce decentralized identity and telco. If you think this is what the listen, please share this with, with your network and yeah. Hit that like button. And also, yes, I'm curious to learn about your thoughts and your feedback is vital to all of us. So please drop in your comments in the comment section below until next time. This is me, Raj Hegde, hoping to see you all again on this incredible journey to redefine the I in identity. Stay safe.

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