Though Bitcoin was first created in 2008, most of us had never heard of it until 2017 when it had its first meteoric rise to nearly $20k per coin. More people were then made aware of this revolutionary technology when Bitcoin made its historic bull run from $10k to over $60k in the span of six months from 2020 to 2021.
With the advent of Bitcoin, its creator Satoshi Nakamoto also gave us the gift of blockchain. This distributed ledger technology essentially lets millions of people contribute to the same Bitcoin network by lending their computing power for the purpose of verifying transactions while being rewarded in Bitcoin, otherwise known as “mining.”
In the midst of cryptocurrency having its meteoric rise to fame, NFTs have now entered into the running for the face of blockchain technology. So far in 2021, billions have been spent on NFTs and they only just hit the mainstream market at the beginning of the year.
Both of these technologies succeeded for various reasons but fundamentally they exist because of blockchain’s ability to bring a near bullet-proof level of verification to the age of the internet. This is due to the unique way blockchain stores data: Essentially, each new block of data connects to all the blocks before it in a cryptographic chain in such a way that it's nearly impossible to tamper with. All transactions within the blocks are validated and agreed upon by a consensus mechanism amongst the entire network, ensuring that each transaction is true and correct.
Total Network Services, Corp founded in 2019 by blockchain innovator Thomas Carter is a group of people who understand the potential of this technology and find opportunities to infuse blockchain where its unique abilities are needed to create a more sustainable and efficient technological environment.
One of the biggest industries that have a need for verification and improved security is ICT, specifically as it relates to supply chain and device management. So what does that mean exactly? It’s the phone in your hand you’re probably reading this article from now. It’s where we do our banking, consume content, store sensitive data, manage our schedules, and communicate with loved ones. With over five billion people using mobile phones, and the average user spending over four hours a day engaging with apps, smartphones are the number one target of malicious actors.
So then the obvious question is: Why not bring the power of blockchain into this space? Taking a technology known for its ability to provide verification and pairing it with an industry that has the most to lose from a lack of security.
Okay, blockchain could help but where would this solution fit into the ICT ecosystem exactly? And how would you get adoption?
Answer: Don’t reinvent the wheel, just attach it to the car.
Starting in early 2020, TNS approached the Telecommunications Industry Association with a concept referred to as an Enhanced Mobile Equipment Identifier (E-MEID). The E-MEID is based on the MEID, a globally unique 56-bit identification number for a physical piece of mobile station equipment. Globally administered by the TIA, MEIDs typically show the manufacturer code and the equipment serial number. The number is permanently affixed to the device and used to facilitate mobile equipment identification and tracking. Assignments are coordinated with International Mobile Equipment Identifiers (IMEIs) to enable global roaming and harmonization between 3G, 4G, and 5G technologies.
TNS’ concept was to attach an MEID to a blockchain specifically designed to support ICT supply chain security.
If an MEID is attached to a blockchain, a globally unique digital token can be created that can represent any associated physical or digital asset. This token would be referred to as an Enhanced MEID. “Tokenization” is the name of this process. When attached to a blockchain, the MEID documentation capabilities expand to include hardware bill-of-material (BOM), Software BOM, and software remediation activity. This additional capability can enhance an organization’s hardware and software supply chain visibility, component provenance, and internal change management processes.
TNS is also partnering with Rypplzz on this endeavor. Their Interlife™ spatial engineering technology adds time-tagged geolocation data and geofenced functional management capability to the Enhanced MEID solution. These additions can dramatically improve security measures and provide near-real-time operational options based on the location of the associated asset.
An organization, for example, could disable software running on an E-MEID provisioned piece of equipment based on its geolocation. As part of our collaboration, TIA has allocated up to thirty-two A1 blocks of MEID numbers to TNS (33,554,432 numbers). These can be “tokenized” to create 33,554,432 individual Enhanced MEID (E-MEID). Pre-assigned MEIDs can also be “tokenized” through a post-deployment blockchain registration process.
TIA is leading the way on ICT supply chain security with the development of the first-ever global supply chain security standard, “SCS 9001”, that specifies verifiable and measurable criteria and uses a process-based quality management system to verify trusted suppliers. TNS, as a participating member of the SCS 9001 Supply Chain Security Standard development process, was able to identify how the E-MEID could collect 5 of the 11 recommended supply chain security measurements in the upcoming standard. That is why we have extended our collaboration to include four industry partners to demonstrate how to apply the E-MEID to four specific ICT industry-relevant use cases as part of the SCS 9001 pilot program.
ComSovereign / VirtualNetCom / Saguna Networks
To learn more about the E-MEID pilots check out these two articles:
If you are interested in learning more about the Enhanced MEID or the associated SCS 9001 Pilot demonstrations, please contact Kevin L. Jackson, SVP, TNS Corporation, via email at Kevin@TNSCorp.io.