Digital ecosystems won’t scale without trust

OK, so technically they will – the Internet of Everything (IoE), underpinned by digital platforms and 5G, will enable the projected dramatic increases in business scale, speed, agility and efficiency.  But in reality? Perhaps it won’t happen as quickly or be as sustainable as you might wish if we can’t establish trust among those doing business in the IoE.

Yes, we can earn and grow trust among customers, businesses and their partners and suppliers, but it takes time to establish through due diligence and positive early interactions. This trust, built over years, can of course be lost in a moment, never to be recovered.  If the IoE is to fulfil its promise, we need to  establish trust that is commensurate with the increasing speed at which digital ecosystems operate. This ‘trust ability’ should  be reliable, transparent and instantly recognizable, and it must gain broad acceptance.

Is the ability to establish trust quickly achievable?  We certainly hope so. The speed and volume of business depends on it.

At TM Forum, we have been putting together a Trust Roadmap of Challenges (RoC) whitepaper, spawned from the original Internet of Everything Roadmap of Challenges, in which trust was identified as a major challenge.

At Action Week, Lisbon 2017 next month, we will be reviewing the first draft of that document and hope to confirm and prioritize the key challenges of establishing and sustaining trust: security, privacy (including regulatory compliance such as GDPR) and other expectations of doing business.

The latter, based on consistent delivery of business products and services, is key to realizing the tremendous opportunities made possible by the IoE. It is essential that all the back office capabilities — particularly around contracts and revenue-sharing/distribution — keep pace and are equally capable of dealing with that increased speed and scale.

We will consider some of the many standards that already exist around the elements contributing to trust — they provide context, but is a standard with which compliance is certified once a year good enough?  And what role do maturity models play in the establishment of trust?

Our intent at Action Week is to bring together these elements with a view to defining trust metrics that can be applied to ecosystems, services, organizations and even devices in the IoE.


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