This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Jason Lunn, Mobile Ecosystem Forum Board Member
The mobile industry is a major contributor to global carbon emissions, with 3.5% of global CO2 emissions deriving from telecoms (double the amount from aviation). The sector really needs to make an effort to tackle this issue in 2023.
One thing that mobile operators can do to become more sustainable is to ensure that their code base is as efficient as possible. That could mean using more advanced programming languages—like Closure—that require fewer lines of code, reducing the amount of computer power that’s required.
This can be more difficult for older players in the market as they will have a lot of legacy code and servers to update. But as new players enter the market with more efficient technology, sustainability will suddenly become a competitive advantage. So, big players need to look into sustainability and efficiency now to prepare for that coming future.
We also need a clear standard and benchmark for measuring CO2 efficiencies. If we reduce the computer power needed, how much CO2 have we actually saved? This would make it easier for enterprise to prioritise efficiencies that lead to greater sustainability.
There is a lot of focus on sustainability and CO2 reduction at every level – from the UN to the US tax code. I think we will begin to see the fruits of that labour over the next year or so, with new legislation bringing clear benchmarks and responsibilities for the industry, and we need to be preparing for that change this year.
So, what else has 2023 in store for the mobile industry? I asked a few my fellow members of the Board of Directors at The Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) to share their predictions for the mobile industry in 2023.
Verifiable credentials will gain major traction
Andrew Bud CBE FREng MEF Board Chair and Founder & CEO iProov
In 2023 we will see the use of Verifiable Credentials start to gain real traction. It’s the next generation of digital identity in which people keep their identity information in their own personal digital vault rather than it being managed by a third party.
So, for example, if a user visits a website, they can quickly and securely verify their identity and other key information, such as date of birth. The source of that information will not be on some central database but a set of cryptographically signed documents that the user controls either on their device or in a personal data vault.
And the important thing is that everything about those transactions will be standardised by brand new World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards. So, the key to this is not the technology but the W3C standards.
This will also help solve the dual problems of digital identity and personal authentication. These are two very different problems. In the case of digital identity, the biographical information is either true or it’s false and it all relates to a single individual who owns that digital identity.
But with personal authentication, we need to ensure that the person asserting that digital identity is entitled to own that set of information. So, one part is about assembling and authenticating the biographical details and personal information while the other is making sure that you are the physical human being to whom that information belongs.
As the technology converges around this issue, we will see some great solutions that will create a new layer of trust around verified credentials. This will benefit everyone, especially those in developing countries where bank accounts and documentation are less common. With trusted verified credentials, people in these regions will suddenly be able to access a whole range of services that were previously closed off to them. That’s going to be a real game-changer.
Reverse brain drain
Anurag Aggarwal, MEF Board Member and VP Partnership and Alliances at Tanla
The global West has been the dominant market for technology. But with the shift in digital transformation due to lockdown, the workforce is being redistributed, both between different organisations as well as geographic locations.
Take India. As a developing nation, India has often had to align foreign and economic policy with the West. But India has roughly a sixth of the global population. Prime Minister Modi has recognised this economic potential and, over the past three years, has established a very successful program to make India a self-contained economy.
As a result, 2023 will see a reverse brain drain. Given the opportunities available, especially in the technology and the telecom space, a lot of that talent which moved out of India to the likes of US and UK is likely to move back over the coming years.
One effect of this will be that India will begin dominating the overall tech space and we will see more of Indians innovating solutions for India rather than for the global West.
Other countries may also follow suit. China and African nations are key areas to look out for. With their huge populations and greater access to technology and information, China and Africa could well become the tech powerhouses of the future.
Shift in digital transformation
Waheed Adam, MEF Board Member and Executive Chairperson at iTouch
Digital transformation accelerated rapidly in 2020 and 2021 due to the lockdowns and people working from home. As a result of COVID, the telecom space saw this unexpected upward swing. However, I do think there has been some overinvestment because of all this growth and some of these excesses were shaved off as we emerged from lockdown in 2022.
In 2022, the US lost 10,000 tech jobs, with internet giants like Twitter, Meta and Amazon dramatically reducing their workforce. And by utilising more efficient ways of working, such as remote working and IoT, we will see more shifts in digital and workforce transformation in 2023.
From a consumer level, these changes may not become obvious for a while, but for industry players, these shifts will lay the foundations for the mobile industry of the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Lunn is a Board Member of MEF (Mobile Ecosystem Forum) a global trade body established in 2000 and headquartered in the UK with members across the world. As the voice of the mobile ecosystem, it focuses on cross-industry best practices, anti-fraud and monetisation. The Forum provides its members with global and cross-sector platforms for networking, collaboration and advancing industry solutions.
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