By Massimo Getto, Vice President & CFO VIASAT GROUP and Marco Laugero, Controller AFC VIASAT GROUP
Data – and its use – represent a key factor for the economical development of the upcoming years. The amount of data acquired and stored by the different organizations is growing exponentially and their capability to turn them into added-value services for their business will determine the success, or failure, of the main actors of our economic scenario. 2017 has been defined as ‘the year of the doubling’, since the amount of data generated corresponds to the number of those which have been generated by the origin of times to 2016. The ‘doubling’ time will be reduced to an hour in 2023; it is not hard to figure out the limitless potential for those who will be able to process and handle such an immense amount of information. Such a concept derives from the fact that the inherent value of data could be extrapolated to allow the development of ‘predictive’ models that could forecast possible future trends and models for customers. Tech giants, as Google and Facebook, have been able to predict this potential and to put a process that was barely imaginable into practice, gathering an impressive amount of information. A key point of this matter is represented by the accessibility or, better, by the possibility of interconnect and transfer those data between different individuals in the full respect of the principles of transparency and integrity, to ensure fairness and protect customers from the risks of inaccurate management of personal information. This concept of trust plays a fundamental role in the interactions between different organizations -as well as in the development of the economic scenario- and represents the lifeblood for generating, consolidating and creating long-lasting business relationships. So far, the accuracy of data and information has been ensured by third-party which certified their quality and correctness. As an example, our monetary transactions are ensured by a credit institute. This is just a sample of the operations that could be differently managed with the advent of Blockchain technology – also known as disruptive – by means of which 10% of GDP will be developed by 2025. (Building Block(chain)s for a Better Planet, September 2018, World Economic Forum). Such an innovation is based on a ‘distributed’ transaction register that is visible and verifiable at any moment by every citizen but, at the same time, cannot be controlled by any Authority. Two factors are implied: the fact that such information can never be altered for any personal purpose and that everybody can directly control the process, thus generating a new concept of trust. The industry of satellite infotelematics is very sensitive to the issue, since its own business is based on a constant flow of data. Which are gathered by billion of sensor all over the world and turned into valuable information to provide tailor-made services and maximise our business. Data protection, integrity, and inalterability are crucial for trust-based business relationships. Industries such as the agrifood sector will benefit of advantages deriving from the interaction between IoT sensors and blockchain for their processes of data collection, acquisition, and certification since it will represent the ultimate measures to guarantee the tracking of goods along the entire production chain and to enhance the relationship with customers through an improved communication on the different stages of production and conservation. The use of these application could be difficult and not immediate for the variety of small and poorly structured enterprises of the Italian market – even because of some cultural issues- but the decision to ignore the potential of these new technologies could be crucial for their future chances of surviving.