MEF’s Future of Messaging Programme is formed of a collaborative, cross ecosystem group of companies championing innovation and tackling fraud in enterprise messaging. MEFTV caught up with some of the programme participants during Messaging & SMS World in London last month to find out how they see the A2P messaging space developing in the next few years.
The discussion on the show floor was dominated by the future role of Rich Communications Services (RCS). Will it displace SMS entirely or is it just another technology? Industry initiatives from the GSMA and Google as well as other rich messaging platforms such as Apple are driving change and creating new use cases for enterprise messaging.
Kevin Britt, country Manager for UK & Ireland at Infobip sees the fragmentation of the industry as a potential benefit: a driver for improving services for end users and businesses.
“When the market becomes fragmented it means there will be different disruptors within the industry all trying to improve the service – this is really beneficial, when you bring the likes of WhatsApp, RCS, Apple’s business track, Viber – they’re trying to provide a rich service… the customer experience is going to be much more beneficial – proper rich conversation is going to happen – and actual real call to actions can be created, rather than at the minute its very transactional – its going to turn into a conversation.”
Daniele Poerio CEO of R&D Communication suggests that the industry needs to start looking at messaging as more than just a communications channel, and think of it as a platform.
“A new era is coming up and its a big opportunity for the industry – in my opinion nobody has got clear ideas of what its going to be in the future – SMS is a very strong channel and will exist for a long time.
The RCS project is evolving, chat apps are entering the market – Viber, WhatsApp for business – the point is how to integrate everything from the point of view of the provider – we need to start to see messaging not as just a channel of communication but as a platform through which to connect.”
Tim Houlihan, Commercial Lead for A2P messaging at Telefonica thinks RCS will be a catalyst for the adoption of innovative new services and commercial offerings, but that it will take time for consumers to really see the innovations it can bring:
“Its going to take a couple of years before things become more mainstream, but I do think that chatbots, chat-vertising and conversational commerce are things we’re going to see coming in probably in the next 1-2 years, and I think RCS will be a big catalyst to drive a lot of these changes”
Mathias Hollerl, MD at DIMOCO Messaging agrees there is a continuing role for traditional SMS for transactional messages.
“Personally I don’t think that other OTT’s can, or should, change or exchange with existing use cases, like in the financial industry, because SMS still works – it is the channel you can reach everyone, I think RCS can be the future of it… for marketing yes, but for transactional, for static traffic, for enterprise SMS I don’t think this will substitute – or should substitute – the good old SMS.”
Daniele Mensi, CEO of Ubiquity agrees and suggests the focus must be to help businesses smoothly integrate new technologies into their offerings;
“RCS is coming – but in the next years we need to help businesses to get the most out of it… our role now is not to perceive the threat of new tech coming like RCs, AI Chatbots… but to help businesses to smooth the transition to this tech, masking and hiding the complexity towards them – any new channel that is coming is very welcome for us.”
Taking a cross-ecosystem approach, MEF’s Future of Messaging Programme provides a unique opportunity to unite all parties within the mobile messaging ecosystem, to achieve a common goal to promote and accelerate best practices in order to limit fraudulent behaviours and identify new opportunities for mobile messaging.