RCS. GDPR. OTT. CPaaS. So many acronyms! So much to discuss! At MWC last month, four of enterprise messaging’s deepest thinkers came together to debate the market’s biggest challenges. Here’s what they said.
The audience arrived at MEF’s Future of Messaging panel session at MWC with the latest RCS update freshly arrived in their inboxes.
The GSMA revealed that 159 million users can now access the next-gen messaging channel. And they confirmed progress on RCS Business Messaging: brands including 1-800 Booking.com, ITV and Subway have now launched live RCS trials.
The news added to the sense that A2P messaging is in the midst of major change. Aside from RCS, there’s also GDPR, the challenge of the OTT channels, the move to CPaaS and more to contend with.
A good time to dive into these issues, then.
This session kicked off with a keynote from Anurag Lal, CEO of Infinite Convergence before Mobilesquared’s Nick Lane chaired a panel session comprising:
Watch the Panel
- Anurag Lal, CEO, Infinite Convergence Solutions
- Dario Calogero, CEO, Kaleyra
- Rob Malcolm, VP of President, Mobile Services, Marketing & Online Sales, CLX Communications
- Max Pellegrini, President of Mobile Services, RealNetworks
Here’s a summary of the panel’s response to seven big questions…
What revenues can we expect from RCS?
It’s the burning question for many: can ’SMS v2’ deliver a big boost to A2P messaging? If so, how big and when?
There were very specific answers to this from moderator Nick Lane. In his intro, he repeated the forecasts he recently revealed in his latest Mobilesquared market analysis.
The big picture was this: Lane expect operators that deploy RCS to generate $625k each per month after a year of activity. After three years, they can expect $835k a month.
How much should an RCS message cost?
Unsurprisingly, the panel kept things vague here. But they broadly agreed that fees should resemble those for SMS, with the sender paying either per message or in bulk.
Will Apple’s non-participation de-rail RCS?
For the time being, RCS looks like a Google thing. There’s no sign of Apple committing to support the tech in its handsets. For Anurag Lal, that’s a big problem.
“It’s the elephant in the room. Apple has not come to party, even though it’s been invited many times. We have to be realistic. RCS still a very small footprint.”
Rob Malcolm was more optimistic. “Most messages are terminated in the same country,” he said. “And there are countries where Android penetration in off the charts. So is Apple a problem for RCS? Maybe true in some European markets, but not in emerging markets.”
Introduction + Anurag Lal Keynote
Does SMS have a trust problem?
This is perhaps the biggest question of all for the A2P messaging ecosystem.
Anura Lal argued that customers seem to trust social platforms more than SMS. Max Pellegrini countered: “Social platforms do a pull experience, while SMS is more like email. But the SMS ecosystem has overall done a fantastic job in keeping the channel useable.”
For Dario Cologero, the question borders on irrelevant since the real trust issue lies with the sender. “Trust is not about the channel, it’s between the brand and the recipient,” he said. “This is as true for SMS as it is for email or other channels.”
Rob Malcolm argued that trust must be sky high – paradoxically – given the success of smishing and other bad practices. He said this is why encryption and security needs to be tackled.
“If people didn’t trust enterprise messaging, then smishing wouldn’t be a problem. But it is a huge and urgent problem. People clicking on link from a bank and giving out personal info suggests they do trust SMS.”
How big a threat is OTT enterprise messaging?
In short: very big. Lal reflected on the vast installed base for WhatsApp in India and suggested that the channel could easily and quickly colonise enterprise messaging.
Malcolm reminded the audience that OTT players have different business incentives from A2P messaging companies. In other words, they might give away A2P messages. “OTT players who
don’t control the global ‘inbox’ or the global addressing system will offer enterprise messaging for free, I think. So the question is whether we can maintain that global inbox, and address security, without giving things away for free.”
Nick Lane, Mobile Squared – Keynote
Is GDPR good or bad for A2P messaging?
Generally, the panelists agreed that legitimate businesses will benefit. Only the spammers should worry.
Lal said: “GDPR is great. It gives consumers back control and it will be standardised across multiple countries, so it should make service providers lives easier.”
Colegero was less convinced. He reminded the room that a legislation is only as ‘good’ as its penalties. He wondered if breaches will, in the real world, be properly punished.
Is CPaaS the future of A2P messaging?
Many aggregators are switching over to a model in which they offer comms via APIs. That means enterprises can embed these services in their own software, and log in online. No sales people. No negotiations. And the channel offered is not just SMS. It could be OTT or voice.
This ‘comms platform as a service’ model is breaking out everywhere. Is that good? The panel broadly said yes, and that this drift is inevitable.
But there was a note of caution. When you take out sales people and introduce online log-in, how can you vet your users?
MEF’s Future of Messaging workshop @ Messaging & SMS Network, Chicago
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