Article by Polina Hristova Journalist at ROCCO

GSMA’s 7th WAS event took place in the shiny, hot and ever-changing gem of the Middle East – Dubai. As much as we’d like to say that it started with a bang, for most, unfortunately, it started with an hour of queuing to obtain their passes in a state of semi-consciousness after a long flight.

However after overcoming this minor hurdle, the fun commenced! The topic of fraud and security opened the WAS week with an air of dread, with stale warnings echoing once more in the telecom realm, but seemingly falling upon deaf ears. The lack of security standards disturbs many, but restless minds are not willing to wait any longer for those to be put in place.

SS7 risks, prepaid trafficking fraud, IRSF… we’ve heard it all before. The ever-increasing IoT traffic puts pressure on pre-existing security issues and it’s slowly turning our defenses into a wall of Swiss cheese, loopholes galore. Fraudsters innovate faster than us, and they’re always a few steps ahead. But there’s hope that detecting fraud will become more efficient with machine learning.

Every customer, every case requires maximum individual attention to prevent the spread of a malicious trend if caught on time. Unusual behaviour should not be monitored as an average, but as a unique case. The juicy details were left for GSMA’s  Fraud and Security Group (FASG) conference in Tokyo later this year – what a pity.

And if you had survived Cellusys’s wonderful yacht party (with a mini pool that was almost the cause of death of somebody’s phone) then you might’ve had the opportunity to pop into the Hot Topics and IoT seminars.

As expected, blockchain took most of the attention, although it was more of an educational glimpse of its presumed brilliance, with the assurance that we are now facing Blockchain 3.0: cloud servicing, multilayer middleware, cryptlets. The thing about blockchain is that there are no practical developments yet, making all speculations as palpable as shisha smoke.

Surprisingly, drones took what was left of the spotlight and we witnessed a reality in which drones of higher endurance, smarter navigation and actual real world applications would eventually become the norm. Drones are widely popular and their practical advantages, especially in accessing and assessing dangerous situations, are more than anticipated.

Our week at WAS triumphed with the wonderful La Perle performance by Dragone sponsored by Etisalat; some of us needed a little bit of magic to overcome the exhaustion of this exciting week!

On Wednesday, the crowd began dwindling and talks of 5G and RCS were reignited… but we are far from employing either of those solutions. 5G is still far in the future and RCS talks just keep on beating that same old dead horse. VoLTE  seems like the most promising candidate.

The Women in Technology panel took place the following day – and how sad we were to miss it! It is the first Women in Technology event to take place during WAS and we would’ve loved to be a part of it. We think this needs more focus in the agenda as by Thursday most attendees has left or were leaving. Some being gone as early as Tuesday evening.

Fortunately, we managed to get a lot of interviews and opinions, so we will keep you entertained in the coming weeks with ROCCO RADIO. Stay tuned.