Podcast: Fraud: Why are UK telcos so vulnerable and can they curb attacks on all of us?

The UK Parliament has confirmed the country is a global fraud hotspot, with attacks rising 25% since the start of Covid-19. We ask digital identity expert, Peter Ford of US-based iconectiv, how Britain’s telcos – who failed once already to address this – can help to curb this crimewave. And since 80% of fraud is cyber-enabled there are lessons for other countries, as the author of a new report, Teresa Cottam, chief analyst at Omnisperience tells Trending Tech podcast host, Jeremy Cowan. Plus, we get a belly-full of the Internet of Silly Things. 

Listen on

Subscribe to get Podcast updates

Listen to all episodes

Jeremy Cowan  00:04

Hi, and Welcome to the latest Trending Tech Podcast on “The Corporate Risk of Number Portability to Communication Service Providers”.   We’re going to look at the impact that number portability – and the current system in the UK – has on unintentionally perpetuating communications fraud.   

My name’s Jeremy Cowan, I’m co-founder of the telecoms and technology sites www.VanillaPlus.com , www.IoT-dash-Now.com , and www.TheEE.aiwhich covers Artificial Intelligence for The Evolving Enterprise. Thank you for joining our growing crowd of listeners around the world. In today’s podcast we’re talking about CSPs in the UK, because sadly this country is a fraud hotspot. It’s our hope that some of the lessons being learned in the United Kingdom today can be applied in other countries tomorrow.

And just how bad is the problem in the UK? Well, one of our guests today, Teresa Cottam, has published a must-read report quoting figures from the UK House of Lords (the upper house of Parliament) saying that there’s been a 25% increase in fraud since the Covid-19 pandemic struck! So, I want to introduce you to our two expert guests who are going to explain the nature and scale of the problem, and they’ll share what is being done about it.   Today we’re joined by a digital identity expert, Peter Ford, executive vice president at US-based iconectiv. He leads the platform portfolio for the company’s Trusted Communications, Network & Operations, Numbering and Registry businesses. And I am delighted to say that iconectiv are our Podcast sponsors today. So, thanks to them for enabling this discussion. Peter, it’s good to have you here. 

Peter Ford  02:08

Thank you very much, Jeremy. Glad to be here.

Jeremy Cowan  02:10

And as I mentioned, I’m really pleased to have with us one of my go-to experts on all things telecoms. Teresa Cottam. Teresa is the founder of consultancy and analyst house Omnisperience, based in the UK. Teresa, welcome.

Teresa Cottam  02:27

Thank you, Jeremy. It’s lovely to be here. As always. 

Jeremy Cowan  02:30

Well, thank you both for joining today’s sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted look at digital transformation for enterprises. And before we get stuck into the fraud issue, we like to keep our eyes on the technology road ahead. So, let’s take a quick look at serious tech news stories that our experts have spotted. And later when we travel that road a bit further, we’ll refuel, grab a brew and have a chat in our final section called What The Tech? This is where we explore a couple of recent tech news stories that amazed or amused us. Now first, Teresa what’s the serious tech news story you’ve found for us?

Teresa Cottam  03:14

Well, I think Jeremy, like a lot of the industry, we always look to Mobile World Congress in late February, early March, as one of the barometers of the industry and not just the telecoms industry, but the whole technology industry. Because it’s just increasingly broad as everything gets connected. And I thought it was very interesting this year that when we actually got past a lot of the glitz and the glam, which there certainly was a lot of still, it was actually quite flat this year. I think that there was some kind of worrying stuff that came out like, for example, Orange CEO, Christel Heydemann said that they just admitted there was a failure to monetise 5G. Full stop. And this came out in one of one of the keynotes, as well as ever-more regulation of the sector. The expectations are just continuing to rise. And customers don’t want to pay any more money for what they’re getting as well.

So, the big proposal was this whole story about the EU and other economies getting together and talking about some kind of tax on Big Tech, which there’s a lot of controversy about I think, Jeremy, as a way of actually bringing some money back into the into the sector. And the idea is that Big Tech is making lots of money off the back of our networks, and they should pay more, but the counter argument is that well you know, customers are already paying for this traffic. So, it’s like a double tax, and it would actually impede growth. And it’s just going back to the model that there used to be in the US where the called party pays and that was not a good model. It definitely impeded growth. So, there’s a lot of controversy about that. And I guess from my sort of background, I would say it represented something about a failure to come up with an idea ourselves as to how we’re going to monetise this. And so, we’re just looking for the quick fix.

And I think that the other bad news was, well, we’ve got the SVB crash. And, you know, a lot of hype that’s being reset, you know, and a question mark about whether we’re headed for an AI winter or a bot com crash, as I like to call it.

Jeremy Cowan  05:38

SVB is Silicon Valley Bank, yeah?
 Teresa Cottam  05:40

Yeah. The Silicon Valley Bank. So, there’s this whole conversation around, have we just gone through this massive hype sort of process? And is there a reset coming? Andhow does telecoms actually make a reality out of all of this good stuff that we’ve been talking about? I think it was interesting.

Jeremy Cowan  06:01

On the first point you made, I mean, it just felt to me like Groundhog Day. I feel that we haven’t really moved on at all. And it’s playing out over and over again. If telcos were going to achieve the situation of having Big Tech paying operators for use of their networks or paying them more equitably it was probably going to happen by now. And I don’t see the regulators moving to change it. And Big Tech says, ‘Move along, nothing to see here’. Peter, what was your take on this? 

Peter Ford  06:29

Well, I too Jeremy was in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. And, whilst it wasn’t back to its sort of pre-pandemic buzz, it was certainly more significant than last year in terms of presence and coverage and you know, general attendance. But I echo many of Teresa’s comments. I think there was there was a sense that the industry continues to miss the boat on a number of these tech transitions, new opportunities. In some areas it felt like people have already moved on from talking about 5G to talking about 6G. The metaverse, which was the buzz a year ago, was in some places non-existent. It was, ‘Yeah, okay, fine. We missed that one’. But at the same time, there were some call them green shoots of hope that I see for the telecoms industry, where this nexus of telco and techco, where what I call the non-traditional service providers – the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft – increasingly see themselves as service providers in the broadest sense. And we saw from the presence of healthcare providers, transportation companies, sports companies, that mobile communications has the potential to be central to everything that we touch and experience in our day-to-day to day lives. And so, there’s certainly an opportunity there. But the question is, can the carriers do what is necessary to capture their share of that value?

Jeremy Cowan  08:22

For a last thought on that before we move on, Teresa, anything that you would add? 

Teresa Cottam  08:27

Yeah, I think that, you know, the sector obviously is a little bit depressed. I mean, PwC put out a figure to say 46% of telecom CEOs don’t think their company will be around in 10 years’ time. 

Jeremy Cowan  08:40

 Teresa Cottam  08:41

There is opportunity. I absolutely agree with what Peter’s saying, but it’s about getting real. And if we’re to avoid the telecom SAG, as I’m calling it, which is the Six G Adoption Gap, Jeremy, because yes, I agree. (Laughter) We’ve moved on from 5G, now we’ve started to hype 6G. If we’re to avoid the SAG, then we really have to get real about how we monetise these things. I think that’s something we can come back to later. We have to work out what do people want to buy, and then work out what they’re prepared to pay for it. Not just focus on network technology.

Jeremy Cowan  09:14

Very sensible. Thanks for that, both of you. And if anybody wants to check out the story for themselves. For all of the stories that we’re talking about today, we’ll post the links in the transcript so you can follow them very easily. 
 Now, we’re at the heart of today’s podcast. And I really want to get a handle on this situation that is plaguing the UK, but not just the UK, and from which lessons need to be learned. Teresa, I mean, going back a bit, the mobile phone number has become THE personal identifier controlling so much of our lives. And we can’t really imagine how we used to do all of those things before the convenience of mobility entered the picture. But as more of our lives get tied to the phone number, there’s an increased risk for all of us if an imposter takes over our phone, or our phone number. How can we protect ourselves? And perhaps more importantly, what could or should the industry – and I guess, here, I mean, regulators and phone companies – what could and should they be doing to protect us as well?

Teresa Cottam  10:24

Well, you’re quite right. I mean, what would we do if we didn’t have our mobile phones to log into everything and identify ourselves, and it’s so convenient for everybody? And actually, we had somebody from the banking industry, and we were talking to them about this. They were saying, ‘But what would the alternative be?’ It’s horrendous to think that we’d have to develop a whole ’nother infrastructure. You know, and certainly the telecoms firms themselves see a massive opportunity in digital identity. So, getting this right is actually very important for confidence in the entire digital economy. It’s important for our industry, and it’s important for all of our customers, both the consumers and businesses as well. Because businesses are the consumers of mobile identity in particular. It was interesting to me that 80% of fraud is now cyber-enabled, though. And it continues to evolve. So, if we look back 10 years at the way that fraud was being perpetrated, it’s changed significantly. And it is an arms race, it will continue to evolve. Just to give you some kind of idea, Jeremy, as to how big a problem it is, I mean, the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at The University of Portsmouth quantified the loss to the UK economy per year is £137 billion (US$171 billion, Ed.). Clearly fraud of all types, but it’s a huge number, when you think if we could just reduce that by a proportion, what we could spend that on probably paying off some of our national debt. But That’s double what we spend on defence, for example, it’s an enormous amount of money that we’re losing. So, the risk is changing. And the House of Lords actually put out a really big report on fraud in the UK, back in the autumn. And one of the comments that was made was that it’s become a cottage industry. And it’s completely internationalised now. So, there is a fraud chain. And you can see that even if you’ve shut it down within, you know, you do a lot within your economy to actually try to counter fraud or one industry tries to fix it, typically banking, they’re looking for backdoors to get in. And unfortunately, they’ve identified telecoms as one of the weakest links, and the UK as one of the weakest economies in terms of being able to get in and use our infrastructure to commit fraud.

Jeremy Cowan  12:47

Peter, is it fair to say then that since the phone number is such an integral part of our digital identity and cybersecurity, the telecom industry – from what Teresa’s saying – has a real role, a very real role in stopping fraud in the UK.

Peter Ford  13:05

Absolutely true, Jeremy, there really is a significant problem with fraud and digital identity. But it’s fixable. Right? The US and Canada still has, but had a much more pronounced issue with fraudulent calls and spam calls. And you may be aware that they recently implemented a call-tracing capability called STIR SHAKEN, and that was primarily to help mitigate against unwanted and fraudulent calls, reaching end consumers. Now, back in 2019, Americans received about 58 billion robo calls, according to the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission). But by 2021 STIR SHAKEN had reduced that number by 14%. Teresa makes a really good point that fraud is rarely eliminated, it simply moves to the point of least resistance. And we firmly believe that efforts by regulators and by industry players need to be coordinated globally, much of the robocalls and telecoms fraud we may experience as consumers and businesses in the UK can originate outside of the UK. So, unless there’s some sort of global collaboration, it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to eliminate all of it.

Jeremy Cowan  14:29

Teresa, I know that Omnisperience prepared a really interesting briefing paper recently in which you said, and I want to quote if I may, “Everyone says they’re against fraud, crime and terrorism. But is the UK telecoms industry doing enough to prevent their customers from being defrauded, including those lucrative financial services?” It looks to me like the UK Parliament’s House of Lords thinks not. It obviously revealed this report showing a 25% increase in fraud since the COVID pandemic. That’s a horrendous figure. What do they say should be done by telecoms, web hosting and other tech industries?

Teresa Cottam  15:12

Yeah. It is an international problem, and it’s a multi-industry problem as well. And what the House of Lords in the UK has focused on, it’s a massive report that came out, and it makes for very interesting reading actually. It took testimony from lots of experts and even if we just look at things like in the telecom sector, SIM-swap fraud, for example, went up 400%, between 2015 and 2020. All the evidence the House of Lords looked at was saying that it’s that fraud is soaring. As I said, 80% of it is now cyber-enabled, there’s actually a massive increase because of COVID. And, you know, ‘Why is the UK such a hotspot for fraud?’, was one of the questions. It’s partly because some other countries have taken actions to actually try to combat fraud effectively. But it’s also because so many people have English as a second language, we’re a very digital economy, we have this huge banking sector in the UK as well. And these are reasons why we’ve become a particular target. But obviously, where we are going, other economies will follow. So we’re all in this together. I think the important thing is to work out, are you pro customer? Are you pro the honest person, or are you pro criminal, and if you are pro customer, then you’re not a rival with another telco or with another economy, all us good guys are in it together to try to close these windows to fraud. 
 I think that as well, a lot of what’s been done has been focused on our own internal telecoms goals, like making sure that we were okay as an industry. And one of the things the House of Lords was very clear about was that we’ve more or less passed the buck to financial services, and the banks are carrying the can. We are allowing our customers to get defrauded unnecessarily, we need to do more to stop that, we need to take responsibility for that. The three industries were called out for different things. I mean, telecoms was for passing the buck, really. But in terms of web hosting, they were allowing fraudulent domains to be set up and that’s another part of the fraud chain. And then the tech industry in general, because it’s not, going back to the mobile identity, it’s not doing enough to verify that the customer is who they say they are. So, they looked at fraud in the whole, I think that’s really important. And they made some recommendations as to what might happen. And it was actually quite scary reading for the telecoms industry, in the sense that they’re going to go down the GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulations) route almost, and they’re going to create a crime. The proposal is of failure to secure your infrastructure and protect your customers against fraud. So, that should become a criminal offence, which means people will be going to jail – a bit like GDPR, you know, failing to protect data, you can go to jail. Also new liabilities, as well, so that these companies that are enabling fraud by not doing enough to prevent it will be held liable for the losses. And there’s actually some case law just come out as well, where customers are actually starting to sue, because they’ve had an inconvenience, or large stress, etc. So, customers are just not going to sit there and take this any more, either. Whether it’s legislation coming in in different countries, including the UK, or whether it’s customers just saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve had enough and we don’t think you’ve protected us well enough’, companies really need to take this seriously.

Jeremy Cowan  18:57

Yeah. Staying with you, Teresa, if I may, as your report also points out comms service providers in the UK and elsewhere, they’re reliant on rivals to forward calls. Is it correct to say the situation could deteriorate quickly through the rapid growth of the Internet of Things which is, after all, connecting billions of IoT devices?

Teresa Cottam  19:20

Yeah, this relates to a particular weakness we have in the UK, which is our number portability infrastructure. And it’s a really important part of the digital economy. It means that when you shift service provider, you can take your phone number with you – mobile or fixed. And before that happened back in the olden days, which Jeremy you and I are old enough to remember, (Laughter) when you changed service provider, you had to change phone number, and that meant people just didn’t change service provider. So, it’s really important that our particular system in the UK is very old and antiquated and vulnerable. We don’t have a central database of porting numbers, we have this onward routing method which is inefficient and it’s also prone to being exploited by fraudsters. For example, it prevents us from effectively cooperating with banks. There are countries all over the world now, including ones which we would consider to be far less digital than us, but also economies like the United States, where they have a central database of numbers. And you know, the banks can actually request those numbers, and then they can just pay more attention to them when they’ve been ported, because they may have been ported fraudulently. So, you just watch those numbers a little bit more carefully, and that can help shut down the fraud. 
But the Internet of Things is a particular risk for our system because, in the past, when we first put this system in, it was relatively small numbers of people porting. And not very often, and we only had very few service providers. Now, when you start to think about the Internet of Things, and millions of meters, for example, with SIM cards in them and wanting to port those. I mean, it’s highly doubtful whether our current system could actually scale and allow the porting as frequently as people now want to do it with the advent of things like SIM-only, for example, people are porting much more frequently. So, it’s the volume and it’s the frequency of porting that’s just going to put an unsustainable pressure onto this system. And if we want to make all that money – remember the money we talked about at the beginning – we’ve got an idea that there’s all these places we could make money, including the Internet of Things, then we actually need to get some of this basic infrastructure right to enable that to happen.

Jeremy Cowan  21:43

Yeah. Peter, coming back to you. We know consumers want to be able to port their phone number and change service providers, as Teresa has just said, and it may be for a better price or for a better service. So, we want to keep that functionality in place. Is there a way for the UK to effectively and efficiently cut off this entry point for fraudsters without cutting off this option for consumers?

Peter Ford  22:08

Yeah, absolutely there is Jeremy. As Teresa pointed out, you know, the UK was one of the first movers when it came to number portability. And that was great when we first implemented it. But it presents the challenge that the way in which it was implemented is, is a little old fashioned right now. There is no central database of ported numbers and most regulators, countries that we work with around the world, adopt a central number database architecture for their solution. That not only enables us and carriers to continue allowing customers to port and benefit from lower prices and better innovation and service from the carriers, but it’s a foundational element to many of the other things that we want to build on top of it. In some countries, law enforcement agencies can utilise this central number database to mitigate against all kinds of fraud, terrorism, general crime, organised crime. Additionally, we see these central number databases being used by the carriers themselves to more effectively route the calls that they’re making in their network. If I know which carrier a subscriber is currently with, I can more effectively route the calls and save costs whilst doing so. So, it’s fairly simple. The UK has been down this path before, it wouldn’t be a huge lift to change the current system for number portability in the UK to something based around a central number database architecture.

Jeremy Cowan  23:55

But who’s going to make that move? Who’s going to drive that?

Peter Ford  23:58

Well, the industry tried once before led by Ofcom and ultimately, the carriers themselves couldn’t agree because of the costs involved. There are typically costs associated with projects like this. But I think firstly the industry has evolved. So perhaps the costs and the complexity of doing this is not what it might have been some years ago. But also, it’s now holding the industry back. 

Jeremy Cowan  24:32


Peter Ford  24:32

We don’t have this basic infrastructure in place, it becomes very difficult to do some of the things around robo call mitigation and fraud management that we’ve been talking about more broadly.

Jeremy Cowan  24:43

Yeah. Teresa, as Peter has pointed out, the telcos in the UK themselves blocked the change to improve the situation back in 2008. And I think they said, Yeah, as Peter points out, the cost to change was too high. I mean, it’s impossible not to conclude now isn’t it, that the cost of not changing was far higher.

Teresa Cottam  25:08

There was a bit of self-interest going on and a bit of departmental-ism. So, one department would look at it and say, ‘Oh, I don’t like that to spend that amount of money’. But I think other departments probably in the same telcos quickly realised that they had a major problem because they couldn’t, for example, bulk port large enterprise customers, because the system isn’t up to it. Now, if we go back to when our system was put in in 1997, I’m betting that your phone had big hard buttons on it. (Laughter) And you know, did it even have a screen? I can’t remember. But it was, you know, it was not the kind of device that we have today, think about how much has changed in the interim, it’s huge. We need a process that’s actually fit for the 21st century, not something that was built in the last century. I think, on the cost front, I don’t think cost is the big driver here any more. If you think about it, it was an unpredictable cost when it was blocked, because things were being built in a bespoke fashion. But things have moved on massively since then now, and we’ve got Software-as-a-Service effectively, we can buy this kind of stuff as a service. Lots of other countries have implemented and we’ve got a much greater volume of evidence to say how much it would cost, and costs have gone down as well, things are much more efficient. So, the predictability is there. I mean, they didn’t actually win on ‘it was going to cost too much’ they won on, ‘we can’t be sure that the cost model that Ofcom came up with was correct’. 
Well, we can be a lot more confident now that we could predict what that cost was going to be. But not doing anything is no longer an option. Because we risk the whole thing collapsing, and not being able to port anything, you know, or not being able to move to these new business models, as we talked about. So, there’s the cost of not being able to make money. But I think the other side of it is the fraud cost, and the reputational damage, you could get. And the final one is the risk from if legislation does go through, if we are made liable in the courts, imagine how that’s going to play out. I mean, people were really scared when GDPR came in about the impact on their reputations in the market. And we could see something similar with this, and quite rightly so I think, as well. So, I don’t think we should be thinking about the cost. I think we should be thinking about the opportunity to get this right to work with our peers in other countries to close down the fraud and to cooperate with other industries like banking more closely who are very good customers of ours and keep our reputation as being a very competent industry that is compliant and is working in the best interests of its customers.

Jeremy Cowan  27:55

Yeah. Peter, a slight angle for that, we hear a lot about KYC or Know Your Customer. But on the fraud front, it seems that it might be KWC, Know Who’s Calling. Whether it’s a business calling a consumer or a consumer calling a business, it appears that communications fraud cuts both ways. If the digital identity is tied to the phone number, what can be done or what is being done right now to combat this?

Peter Ford  28:25

Well, I agree, Jeremy, digital identity is very much a two-way street. Businesses absolutely have a need to know their customer. But increasingly today customers need to be able to trust that the business calling them is who they claim to be. Very anecdotally, but I just looked across to my mobile phone; today alone I have received three unwanted spam SMSs, just random marketing that I haven’t asked for. Four what I assume are phishing SMSs, one from PayPal, one from Netflix, one from Amazon and one from Parcelforce – except they’re not from any of those organisations. They from fraudsters trying to convince me that they’re from those organisations and, and one robocall voicemail, that I didn’t answer and went to my message service. And that is repeated across mobile consumers across the UK and globally, right as this is a global problem. And as a result, consumers increasingly do not answer their mobile phone unless they know exactly who is calling. And that’s not good for the carriers, that’s not good for the enterprises using mobile telephony as a channel to reach their customers. 
So, how do we solve this problem? Well, in some other countries we see efforts either by industry organisations or regulators, or groups of carriers themselves to effectively register telephone numbers for vetted and verified consumers or businesses. And in a future world of rich call data, when our mobile phones will be able to present with a call more information than just the CLI, it should be possible for a vetted and verified enterprise or brand to present a call on your handset saying, ‘Jeremy, this is your local garage calling’ with their logo and even a short purpose telling you, I don’t know, it’s an update on the repair of your car. And that effectively that could come with the equivalent of the blue checkmark that enables you as a consumer to be certain that it is who it says it is. And you can then make a decision about answering that call, taking that call. But that requires, it requires collaboration in the industry. And one of the things that most frustrates me personally is carriers continue to try and solve this problem individually because they see it as some sort of competitive advantage. But let’s consider what that means for the enterprises themselves. It means if I’m an enterprise and I want to register my brand, I have to go and register all the telephone numbers that my brand uses, individually with each different carrier in each different country by whatever standards or methods that carrier deploys. And that’s just not workable. Many of the financial services entities we talk about are global operations. And they want to be able to interact with their customers from call centres, both onshore and offshore. So, unless there’s some sort of collaboration in industry standard that ultimately drives the way in which we’re going to enable branded calls, or trusted calls, I don’t believe we’ll see the rapid take up that consumers, enterprises and the telecoms industry wants and deserves.

Jeremy Cowan  32:28

Yeah. Well, thank you both. That started with some scary numbers and ended with essentially a very positive message of what can be done and what must be done. Okay, let’s unwind for a moment to see what in the world of tech has amazed or amused us lately. Teresa, you go first, what have you seen?

Teresa Cottam  32:46

Well, I’ve seen lots of Internet of Silly Things coming out again, Jeremy, as you can always go into after a few shows in the spring. The first one was the HAPIfork, I have to say, which is this kind of internet-connected fork, which will tell you are you eating too fast or too slow? And you know, the stats come up on your mobile phone? Now, I just want to bring up that there’s apparently in the UK £22.8 billion (US$28.5 billion) worth of gadgets in our homes that we don’t use, approximately £822 worth of junk in each household. I was really surprised actually, they said that the most common, not-used gadgets are actually things like cafetieres, pestle and mortars, and spiralisers – whatever they are. But I’m surprised they didn’t have electric sandwich makers and bread makers and teasmaids, because I’m sure we’ve all got those as well. But the point is at £60 a device that’s going into the Drawer of Doom, isn’t it, with all the other junk that we have? 

Jeremy Cowan  33:51

And if weight loss was simply down to how quickly we all eat, maybe they might be onto something, but just perhaps calorie intake and exercise could also have something to do with it, I’m thinking.

Teresa Cottam  34:02

I think so. But one that I did see that I initially dismissed was L’Oreal came out with this device called Brow Magic, which sounds it sounds a bit scary and a bit useless when I first read about it, $199. But basically, you take a selfie of your face, there’s a little bit of AI in there, you know, we’ve all got to have a bit of AI. It recommends what your eyebrows should look like, you decide just what you want. And then this little device will 3D print your eyebrows onto your face.
 Jeremy Cowan  34:38
No way!

Teresa Cottam  34:40
Which does seem like science fiction, doesn’t it Jeremy? It seems horrendous. Think about it. I sort of thought to myself, but then again, women spend a lot of money on their eyebrows, believe it or not. I mean, you know £30 – £50 a month or something on your eyebrows, dyeing them, shaping them, etc. And, you know, there are women that really need this like if you’re going through cancer treatment, you’re aging, you know, so you know your eyebrows go white or whatever, or they drop out, you’ve got alopecia, you can see this actually might be quite useful. And I think there are other applications for the technology. Imagine, instead of having a permanent tattoo, maybe you could have one of these 3D printers and just print yourself once a fortnight or something. So, it does open the door to some interesting body modification, a temporary body modification technology, I think.

Jeremy Cowan  35:28
 As we’re recording this for audio only, and I can’t see Peter, Peter I’m going to have to ask you. Is this going to be an issue for you? Printing your eyebrows? 

Peter Ford  35:40

Yeah. Well, as a man with an on-occasion, overly bushy eyebrow I think I’m probably in need of some sort of trimming solution rather than anything to further increase the size of my eyebrows. It maybe an interesting application. I’ve braved Movember every year, where I grow a moustache in aid of various men’s charities and I’ve always found it incredibly itchy and unpleasant experience. If I were able to use a device to effectively print and paint on a moustache at the relevant point in the month that could save me a lot of time and trouble. 

Jeremy Cowan  36:18

It could, or if you’re me it could land you into serious trouble with your wife, who has assured me that any return of my earlier moustache would see me in the divorce court quite quickly. (Laughter)

Peter Ford  36:29

Yes. Well, I think what all of these stories bring back to us, Jeremy, though is there’s a serious message, which is, unless technology solves real-life problems we are doomed to repeat this never-ending circle that we referred to right at the beginning, back at Mobile World Congress, where the industry develops technology, but never really solves problems or creates value for consumers. Yeah. And thus they don’t they don’t see the revenue and the returns that they would want to see from their investments. 

Jeremy Cowan  37:06

Yeah. Well, I’m very grateful to both of you for commenting on everything from eyebrows to fraud. But if anyone wants to follow up on what we’ve been discussing today, where would they best find you? Teresa, where can we find you?

Teresa Cottam  37:19

Well, please feel free to come to our website www.Omnisperience.com . You can see us on LinkedIn, feel free to link in to me. And we do do the occasional tweet, but I think we’re more LinkedIn these days, Jeremy than Twitter. After the Elon Musk era at Twitter, I think, we’ve moved over.

Jeremy Cowan  37:38

And my thanks also, as well as to Teresa, thank you for that. To Peter Ford of iconectiv, thank you for your expertise, Peter. And to iconectiv for sponsoring this Trending Tech podcast?
 Peter Ford  37:53
Many thanks, Jeremy. 

Jeremy Cowan  37:55

And where can our listeners find you, Peter?

Peter Ford  37:58

Either via our website, www.iconectiv.com  or me personally at pford@iconectiv.com . Or on our LinkedIn channel and page.

Jeremy Cowan  38:09

And thank you, as ever, to our rapidly growing audience around the world. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to the Trending Tech podcast wherever you found us today. Until the next time, …. Keep Safe, Keep checking VanillaPlus.com, IoT-dash-Now.com, and TheEE.ai, where you’ll find more Tech News, plus Videos, Top-Level Interviews, Event Reviews and much more. And join us again soon for another Trending Tech Podcast looking at Enterprise Digital Transformations. Bye for Now! 

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.