Tech Mahindra, Microsoft bank on blockchain to put an end to pesky calls

Tech Mahindra, Microsoft bank on blockchain to put an end to pesky calls
27 Aug, 2018

IT solutions provider Tech Mahindra has joined hands with tech giant Microsoft to develop a blockchain-based solution for curbing the menace of spam calls in India.

Tech Mahindra said in a statement that the distributed ledger technology-based solution is built on cloud computing platform Microsoft Azure and aims to mitigate the issue of unsolicited commercial communication (UCC), which includes calls and SMSes, in India.

The solution is in line with regulations devised by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the country’s sectoral watchdog.
“Blockchain as a technology is a powerful tool to combat the issue of spam calls and fraud risks, to protect user information, as well as the integrity of the telecom sector,” said Rajesh Dhuddu, global practice leader of blockchain at Tech Mahindra.

“This Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based solution will enable enterprises to stop financial frauds and perpetration of misleading financial information by unregistered telecom marketers who rampantly use the SMS service of telcos,” he added.

TRAI has previously stated that spam calls are a major nuisance to telecom subscribers across the country and has been working with stakeholders to curb this menace. 

In 2010, the regulator had established a "Do Not Disturb" (DND) registry to put an end to such calls. However, the problem still continued as unregistered telemarketers spammed customers by obtaining their consent through fraudulent tactics. 

TRAI had last month put out new rules that requires subscribers’ consent for receiving such calls and messages. The regulations had mentioned ‘adoption of distributed ledger technology (or blockchain)’ to ensure regulatory compliance.

Tech Mahindra and Microsoft’s new solution aims to fix loopholes used by fraudsters and spammers. It claims to bring all the relevant parties in the ecosystem onto blockchain, helping telecom service providers and telemarketers take care of preference registration, consent acquisition, dynamic preference setting, stakeholder onboarding, header registration, template registration, scrubbing service, and complaint handling and tracking. 

Tech Mahindra said the solution will be a shared, secured ledger of UCCs distributed across a network of computers, which will ensure a transparent and verifiable system to help companies mitigate UCC on their networks. 

“The intersection of cloud and blockchain will ensure a new way of monitoring and enforcing compliance throughout the ecosystem,” said Microsoft India’s national tech officer Prashant Shukla. “Through this solution we will be able to help service providers be compliant with the new regulation." 

Tech Mahindra, a publicly-listed company, has been stepping up its blockchain play to boost revenues.

Tech Mahindra’s chief strategy officer Jagdish Mitra told TechCircle earlier this month that the company had partnered with blockchain conglomerate Eleven01 Foundation. 

The duo will work together on building an Eleven01 Protocol — a blockchain protocol focused on emerging markets that will serve as a foundation for decentralised applications.

In July, the company had said that it was setting up a blockchain training programme at its newly-planned emerging technology centre in its Hyderabad campus.

Tech Mahindra also recently said that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Telangana government to launch India's first ‘blockchain district’. 

Microsoft, too, has been increasingly trying to leverage its use of blockchain technology.

Earlier this month, the Satya Nadella-led company issued two patent applications that offered a glimpse into its new blockchain solutions.

In May, it had announced the Azure Blockchain Workbench wherein it released a new set of tools for developers that work with distributed ledger technology.