Digital Mixology – Chapter III – Secure Solutions with Blockchain

You’ve learned about the incredible powers that Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things can bring to digital transformation. As we continue our Digital Mixology course it’s time to heed Uncle Ben’s advice to his nephew Peter Parker—with great power comes great responsibility. In our digital mixology recipes this means adding Blockchain technology.

It’s the digital dirt, not gold, that holds the most promise

In the winter of 2017 the digital gold rush made headlines. A frenzy developed around crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and a host of others. Headlines wondered aloud whether traditional, or fiat, currencies would be replaced with digital equivalents, and people hurried to get in while the getting was good. Looking back it’s become apparent that lost in the tidal wave of hype was this fact; while crypto-currencies have the potential to radically change how finance and banking is conducted in the future, the digital dirt from which it comes from has incredible use cases today.

That digital dirt is a Blockchain.

How does BlockChain Work

My friend David has a car for sale. I recently converted some of my fiat currency, in this case US dollars, into a crypto-currency such as Bitcoin. After negotiating an agreed upon a price for his car David agrees to accept Bitcoin for payment. To transfer my Bitcoin to David’s digital wallet we submit this transaction to a world-wide network of computers currently “mining” for bitcoin.

In theory anyone can mine for crypto-currencies like Bitcoin by simply installing software on their internet connected computer. The software verifies transactions by solving math equations. When the equation is solved, the transaction is written to a public ledger and the miner is rewarded with bitcoin.  When the ledger, or Blockchain, is young the math is relatively simple. As the chain grows the math becomes more complicated due to the fact that the math in each new block builds upon the previously solved block. This advancing algebra means that mining for Bitcoin is no longer in the feasible realm of hobbyists. Specialized hardware and access to ungodly sums of power and cooling are required to efficiently mine for crypto-currency. Due in no small part to it’s access to natural cooling, the country of Iceland has become one of the most popular locations for crypto-currency mining. In 2018 The Washington Post wrote that the demands of crypto-currency mining threatens to exceed the country’s ability to generate electricity.

These requirements illustrate the secure nature of an immutable, or write once – read forever, ledger. If I wanted to hide my purchase of David’s car by overwriting the block which contains our transaction, I’d quickly discover that simply erasing the transaction isn’t enough. To truly obscure the transaction I would need to modify every subsequent block in the chain. There simply isn’t enough computing power on the planet right now to accomplish that task.

In the not so distant future Quantum computing will become more and more available. Quantum computing will have the power to cut through the chain like a hot knife through butter, but due to the anonymous, distributed nature of Blockchain, it is considered Quantum safe. Simply modifying my copy of the ledger wouldn’t be enough…I’d have to identify every other computer currently mining and modify their copy of the ledger. This is a truly impossible task which explains why Avaya is adopting Blockchain in many of our products and solutions.

Fighting Back Against Identity Theft

When you call into a contact center and speak with an agent, you begin the interaction by playing a game of twenty questions. What’s your mother’s maiden name? What’s your date of birth? What’s the last four of your social security number? What’s your daughter’s DNA sequence?

I’m exaggerating, but not by much. Anywhere from 45-90 seconds of every customer interaction is wasted on the necessary evil of verifying you are who you say you are. This necessary evil drives up caller wait and agent call times. A unique solution called Avaya Mobile Identity service can dramatically reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the game of twenty questions.

As a mobile network operator Avaya can harvest information such as caller name, billing telephone number, current location, and biometrics for every call using our revolutionary Avaya Mobile Experience toll-free service. This data can be used to more intelligently route callers and breathe new life into the old contact center super heroes such as toll-free service, auto attendants, and speech response systems. When paired with Avaya Mobile Identity that same data can also be used to verify caller identity.

As an example, let’s say my crypto-currency bank receives an inquiry about my account. If the bank knew the call originated my from cell phone, how confident would the bank be they are speaking with me and not someone pretending to be me? The confidence would be pretty low since anyone could steal my phone and make the call. Avaya Mobile Identity embeds a confidence meter on the agent desktop, and based on this limited data the agent would be directed to ask the full assortment of identity verification questions.

If the bank knew this call originated from my cell phone while it was located at my home address, how confident would you be that I made the call? In this case someone would need to steal my device AND break into my home before making the call. The meter would grow but not to 100% since my wife and children could easy gain access to my phone while they are at our home. If we add in more data, such as logging into the bank’s mobile app with my fingerprint, that further increases confidence in the caller’s identity but it’s not foolproof since my wife has stored her fingerprint on my phone “for convenience”. Each piece of data can mean fewer questions asked. To fully eliminate identity fraud Avaya Mobile Identity can pair harvested data with a voiceprint analysis, meaning we can reduce or fully eliminate identity verification, returning 45-90 seconds of every call back to queue. More calls answered with no new tushes in cushes.

When Avaya Mobile Identity is used to assist in verifying a caller’s identity a description of the data, but not the data itself, is written to a private blockchain. To ensure your business and customer’s privacy, while also being conscious of the environmental impact of public blockchain mining, the Avaya Mobile Identity service uses a private blockchain. Should your business be required to produce content for an audit or legal action the blockchain acts as a certificate of authenticity; proving the data you produce is what it claims to be and has not been modified in any way.

“Doable, not Sku-able”

If you’re considering Blockchain for projects such as Smart Contracts, Digital Banking, or Patient tracking, Avaya has a consulting practice to help you realize results. The same group who evaluates and integrates Blockchain with our products can help you understand if Blockchain is a fit for your project, the options available, and implement a solution.

Interested in learning more about Avaya Mobile Identity or Blockchain? Visit our website, or contact your Avaya Business Partner.

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