Mobile messaging is arguably the cornerstone of business to consumer communications. Whether it’s to authenticate a user of a service, a notification or as part of a marketing push, messaging is often the mission critical component of a growing number of consumer services.
There are however threats to the growth of messaging within the mobile ecosystem. Grey routes and SIM farms for example are unregulated lines of communication that can harm the user experience and the long-term sustainability of the messaging sector.
We asked MEF members for their thoughts on mobile messaging and how it will shape up in 2016.
Rob Malcom, SVP Global Commercial Operations, Mblox
In 2016 enterprises and brands will begin to better capitalise on the potential of mobile messaging for customer care, particularly as it relates to validating identity and delivering mission critical information. This will be especially true in emerging markets. At the same time they will be ever more concerned about security, data protection and compliance.
Consumers will expect to receive relevant information whilst on the move, and brands that do not take advantage of the immediacy of mobile messaging will risk losing a key opportunity to differentiate their services with their customers.
Operators will continue to maximise revenue efforts from A2P messaging and will more aggressively than ever start shutting down back doors into their networks. They will also start to more seriously explore data monetization.
As a consequence of the above, demand for trusted messaging providers, global solutions, and service excellence will drive savvy enterprises to use larger and more credible partners leaving the smaller players ripe for consolidation.
Head of Marketing
Caroline Dreier, Head of Marketing, Mitto
2016 will reveal more models and monetization strategies in the business of A2P, which Ovum estimates will total 2.2 trillion messages by 2017. Enabling operators to tap into the massive potential revenue that A2P represents are a few high-quality messaging providers who, along with new technologically advanced systems, are at the forefront of merging technology and commercialization.
Operators will take advantage of their existing and reliable relationships with these mobile messaging service providers, access additional expertise and connect to a new support infrastructure without any additional investment.
In the coming year, more operators and OTTs will look to directly engage with high-level providers like these, who have the combination of global connections and top technology to better manage messages, guarantee better delivery results and support revenue generation.
David Vigar, Director of Carrier Relations, Nexmo
We see two major trends that have gained momentum in 2015, and will continue to accelerate in 2016. The first is the growth of OTT as a channel for rich consumer interaction with brands. This will not be a simple replacement of the SMS or PSTN voice channel (banks will still trust SMS for their two-factor authentication), but it’s about allowing consumers and brands to interact, transact, and share content on a channel that is already widely used by consumers.
For some time, we have seen ‘hacks’ into WhatsApp, but the focus for 2016 will be on official OTT channels including Line, WeChat and Viber. With Facebook recently launching an API, the major OTTs will now offer similar services.
The second trend we see is brands’ progression and development of contextual communications, in which the context of what consumers do and communicate on one channel is brought with them when they move to another channel.
A good example is when you are checking your credit card charges in your banking app and don’t recognise a certain transaction, you can initiate a PSTN call to the bank. When the customer support agent answers your call, you expect them to already know which fraudulent charge you are referring to based on the context of your in-app browsing.
Jeroen van Glabbeek
Jeroen van Glabbeek, CEO, CM Telecom
As the demand for messaging is growing, companies such as CM Telecom must make a bigger effort than ever to bring the mobile ecosystem to the next level.
We do this by improving relationships with operators on all levels and continue pushing for higher quality at attractive prices. The latter requires that operators like Vodafone and Telefonica are confident in that parties such as CM Telecom, CLX and Nexmo know what value they bring to their customers.
In addition, closer market cooperation is needed to create a more uniform legal framework, and MEF can play an important role in this process. This with the ultimate aim to give the best possible support to our global customers in their strivings to reach their goals.
Matt Hooper, SVP, IMImobile
We see the need to digitize customer engagement as a key driver in 2016 with mobile driving the biggest transformation of organisations since the inception of the web. Messaging commerce (customer service, bookings, purchases) will become more central, but will also create operational headaches around areas of service creation, delivery and automation.
The emergence of the multi-device consumer who uses smartphones and tablets, information, apps and services will demand a dynamic, flexible and continuous user experience, based on context for which effective, interactive messaging is key. Social and OTT messaging will continue to be adopted as a communication channel with customers, for example, the launch by the US Operator Sprint of a Face Book Messenger service for customer enquiries.
The mobile mind shift is just beginning with messaging taking central stage
There will be over 3 Billion smartphones and tablets by 2017 and consumers now expect a mobile friendly experience out of the gate, whether that’s a basic interactive service such as two-way SMS, or in app, OTT messaging, the use of social media, or a combination of communication channels orchestrated across devices. From contact centres to ‘click and collect’ customer operations, through to utilising interactive messaging in retail banking for identification of fraud, the use of mobile messaging in customer journeys is set to grow.
Smart network data
2016 will see a growth in the use of smart network data, with mobile network operators, social and digital networks finding demand for network intelligence to provide richer communication services. Whether that is through presence, identifying the channel of preference for customer communication, or proximity services that identify where a customer’s mobile device is in relation to a banking transaction, 2016 will see the network providers find new ways to monetise data and bring intelligent services to market.
Yuri Fiaschi, Sales Director, infobip
In 2016 we will continue to see exponential growth in A2P volume, especially in emergent markets but also in mature markets, since the future of this market is the full services integration, using SMS as another way to reach users.
Companies are understanding that user experience involves communication, regardless of the form, the user needs to be found, so the convergence of all media is the future and SMS continues to be a safe and reliable way.
Users will receive only content which is really interesting to them, as an almost exclusive content, so all companies will need to increasingly understand who they are talking to, giving the possibility of choice to the user. Companies will start to release new connections and features, in partnership with carriers, with new products and services, differentiating from Grey Route and Sim Farms.
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