Innovation and investment by the mobile industry continues to have an enormous impact on the lives of billions of people around the world. Mobile doesn’t just deliver connectivity, it empowers people through an ever-growing range of mobile-enabled services. Currently there are 3.5 billion unique mobile subscribers worldwide, but this figures is set to grow to 4.6 billion by 2020, representing 60 per cent of the world’s population.
The GSMA leads several programmes that are shaping the continued growth and development of the sector. From embedded SIM technology for Internet of Things applications to mobile identity and payment solutions, these initiatives are laying the foundations of an increasingly connected, mobile world.
The GSMA, via its Network 2020 programme, is working with leading operators and equipment vendors to accelerate the launch of IP-based services around the world. The work of the Network 2020 programme covers the development of specifications, assisting operators with the technical and commercial preparations for service launches and resolving technical and logistical barriers to interconnect.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to have a huge impact on our daily lives, helping us to reduce traffic congestion, improve care for the elderly, create smarter homes and offices, increase manufacturing efficiency, and more.
IoT involves connecting devices to the internet across multiple networks to allow them to communicate with us, applications and each other. It will add intelligence to devices that we make use of on a daily basis and in turn deliver positive impacts to both the economy and broader society.
We are set to see rapid growth in IoT over the coming years. According to GSMA Intelligence, the number of cellular Machine-to-Machine connections is expected to have reached just under one billion by 2020. However, this will still represent a small portion of the overall market as Juniper Research predicts that by 2020, the total number of IoT devices will have grown to 38.5 billion.
The GSMA, through its Connected Living programme, is encouraging the development of the nascent IoT ecosystem by working to define industry standards, promote interoperability and encourage governments to create a supportive environment that will speed the growth of IoT globally.
The standards-based GSMA Mobile Connect solution utilises the OpenID Connect protocol, offering broad interoperability across mobile operators and service providers, further ensuring a seamless experience for consumers. Mobile Connect can also provide different levels of security, ranging from low-level website access to highly-secure, bank-grade authentication. Mobile Connect promises to make passwords a thing of the past.
Governments should create a digital identity plan that acknowledges the central role of mobile in the digital landscape. The mobile industry is committed to working with governments and other stakeholders to establish trust, security and convenience in the digital economy.
The mobile industry has a proven track record of delivering secure networks and has developed enhanced security mechanisms to meet the needs of other industry and market sectors. The implementation and evolution of these security mechanisms is a continuous process. The mobile industry is not complacent when it comes to security issues and the GSMA works closely with the standards development community to further enhance the security features used to protect mobile networks and their customers.
In summary, mobile operators, with their differentiated identity and authentication assets, have the ability to provide sufficient authentication to enable consumers, businesses and governments to interact in a private, trusted and secure environment and provide more secure and convenient access to services.