Digital identity services have an essential strategic role in the future of online commerce. The growth of e-commerce has been remarkable in Asia over the last year, where it now accounts for around a quarter of all annual B2C transactions globally, according to the Asian Development Bank. Particularly striking has been growth in China: online retail reached $245 billion in mid-2017, a rise of 30% on the previous year, and is expected to surpass an astonishing $1 trillion over the course of 2018.
The ongoing realisation of this potential, however, hinges on trust: only if consumer confidence can be ensured will these gains be made. With users across Asia increasingly wary of online fraud – more than three quarters have experienced some form of online theft, and last year saw enterprises lose over $171 billion to cybersecurity breach across the Asia Pacific region. As the volume and range of online services increase, so too do the opportunities for hackers to steal money and personal information. Digital identity must be visibly secured, or users will shy away from online commerce and the vast commercial opportunities Asia offers will be lost.
The mobile industry is in a unique position to ensure this confidence, with its unparalleled technological security, and the consumer trust that comes with it, as well as its extensive global infrastructure and experience dealing with global service providers. The pan-industry digital identity solution Mobile Connect, which allows user to dispense with usernames and passwords and instead verify themselves with their mobile phones, is being deployed at a rate of one new operator per month across five continents. The commercial opportunity for those able to play a role in securing online trade is considerable, and the time to play that role is now.
The GSMA convenes an extensive programme of workshops, events and demonstrations year-round to promote collaboration in digital identity services and drive innovation forward. The next of these will take place at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai next week, where we will host a series of Identity Innovation Labs at the Jumeirah Hotel, a set of three standalone discussion sessions bringing together experts and industry leaders from across the ecosystem.
The first will consider trends and commercial opportunities in identity across South East Asia and China, in which identity tech firms IPification and Trulioo will share thoughts on the latest authentication methods, boosting rollout of Mobile Connect in the region, and techniques for implementing eKYC. They will be joined by China Mobile Research Institute for a mobile network operator’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities eKYC brings, and how these can be managed most effectively to reduce cost and strengthen capabilities. The session will run between 10:00 and 11:30.
The next will focus on branding and global presence, as digital commerce increasingly becomes a cross-border affair. Representatives from SKT, Deutsche Telekom, Microsoft, Danal and Payfone will present case studies of cross-border e-commerce, and methods of collaboration with global service providers, as well as consideration of how to approach the life cycle of customer accounts. This session will take place between 13:00 and 14:30, following a networking lunch sponsored by Trulioo at 11:30.
The final session, between 15:30 and 17:00, will consider the changing technological landscape in digital identity, with a particular focus on Rich Communication Services (RCS). Senior figures from Orange, China Mobile and China Unicom will assess the benefits Mobile Connect can bring to RCS messaging, and how the combination can offer users a seamless and secure route to mobile payment through digital marketing. The global trend towards decentralisation of online identity will also feature prominently, with close attention paid to how blockchain can be used in concert with Mobile Connect.
Those interested in attending are asked to submit their details here. We hope many of you will also be able to stop by the Innovation City, in Hall N5 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. Operators and their partners will be showcasing the uses of Mobile Connect in securing cross-border trade throughout the Mobile World Congress – Deutsche Telekom and SKT, for instance, will demonstrate a new cross-border authentication service to log-in to Wi-Fi provider services abroad, and China Mobile will show how their China Mobile Passport, in alignment with Mobile Connect, can secure delivery of RCS. There is no need to book, please just drop in to view the demos and consider the implications for your own work. We hope to see many of you there.