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Waheed Adam, Chairman of iTouch Messaging, describes a rich-media messaging solution tailored to the African markets and the unique challenges, and solutions, facing businesses bringing these services to the region.

While Africa faces many technological challenges in terms of bandwidth and stable/affordable data and internet rates/services, improvements are being made and the technology ecosystem is getting better.

That being said the mobile first approach has hit this continent by storm and as predicted by industry leaders a few years ago we see an influx of new mobile users and a shift from a feature phone dominated society to Smartphones.

The popularity of companies like Huawei, Lenovo, Samsung and now Nokia have always been present and with them producing cost-effective handsets from as little as ZAR 800, everyone can now afford a smart device.

Smartphone education has been bridged

As the years have gone by, users have become fimiliar with the benefits of owning a Smartphone, this personal device is now apparent to all walks of life, from low to high income earners, young and old users.

Benefits from owning these devices has supplemented mainstream usage of personal computers and laptops for everyday internet users (i.e. many household members will own 1 or more smartphones but no personal computers or laptops).

We also see an increase in the usage amongst the older generation, 60+, and trends show they are spending lots more time in using video platforms such as YouTube. This and other evidence has shown that smart devices are no longer feared or treated as a hi-tec device but is an essential tool used daily by most of the population.

Where does that leave marketers?

Despite the increase in smart device usage we still have to deal with the unstable and expensive cost of data. Marketing material has to be attractive in design, interactive, have a fast load-time and not be too taxing on data in order to be successful.

The obvious answer is always SMS, with its great ROI and low cost its quite an easy solution, but this does not appeal to all audiences and is rather boring if you trying to make a statement.

Enter Multi-channel Embedded Message Services (MEMS), the rich-media messaging solution with a million and one purposes.

These nifty little messages uses the cost efficiency of a standard SMS but can be optimised with creative design and interactive elements. These have been compared to building an instant microsite to serve your campaign which is still highly personalised for the user.

2016 has shown immense growth in the MEMS Market, particularly in the Financial Sector

Exciting trends has emerged for MEMS messaging in 2016. Clients have now tried and tested this platform and it has proven its worth. In fact, this platform has surpassed its initial use and has grown into a multi-purpose product.

Adoption of MEMS has now infiltrated the finance and service sectors; from banking to insurance and retail. Its security features and the ability to create a unique campaign for each customer allows for personalised communication. The use of product has proved to be endless, among them are main front-runners, namely:

  •  Issuing of new policy material / schedules
  • Invoicing
  • Billing
  • Account statements

We see a constant influx of interest from these services industries. This can be tied back to the functionality of MEMs, simply put it’s attractive, cost effective and instant, not to mention it’s eco-friendly – so we score some green points for promoting a paperless society.

With more pro’s than cons, we predict this product growing immensely over the next few years and hope to expand its use across various industries.

There is so much opportunity in the mobile sector and so much more room to grow, the exciting part is creating the opportunity and presenting businesses with a limitless product.

Waheed Adam

Executive Chairman, iTouch Messaging


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