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Every year we ask MEF’s Global Board to share their insights into what will be the big trends and changes for the mobile ecosystem in the year ahead. With a new decade underway, mobile is at the heart of digital transformation and industry disruption.

Here are the views from some of MEF’s Board Directors and Advisors on what 2020 has in store for MEF’s core programmes – enterprise communications, IoT and Personal & Data Identity as well as other predictions and opportunities across areas such as content and payments.

  • Andrew Bud CBE – founder, iProov, MEF Global Chair
  • Andrew Parkin White, MEF advisor
  • Danielle Mensi, MEF Advisor
  • Dario Betti – MEF CEO
  • Jason Lunn, SVP Commercial, IMImobile
  • Rafa Pellon – Partner , Pellon de Lima Advogados
  • Surash Patel, VP & GM Messaging, Realnetworks

Digital Identity & Personal Data

2020 will see the emergence of Digital Identity as a Service

In 2020 we are going to start to see some serious players emerging with credible scaled offering for the first time. They’ll come in different flavours – some will be national governments, others will be major commercial organisations. Mastercard has already declared their very ambitious strategy in this area and we will see other companies coming into this space from unfamiliar areas – all with compelling reasons for large numbers of consumers to sign up and establish identities with them.

Strong customer authentication for banking

This is going to be driven by the implementation of the European PSD2 – who’s provisions on strong customer authentication were widely ignored before their deadline in September 2019, but a new deadline in 2021 has been set so expect lots of action in 2020 on that.

Biometrics for automated onboarding

2020 will see wider acceptance of biometrics for automated onboarding in order to meet a variety of international requirements to protect against fraud and money laundering.  For the first time, we’re going to see the use of biometric onboarding in order to meet very stringent levels of assurance. The technology has been approaching for a while and 2020 will see it springing onto the stage in many countries, changing consumer experience as well as the level of service enterprises are able to provide.

The impact of Face-Swap

There will be further public recognition of the incredible impact of deepfakes where an existing image or video is replace with someone else’s likeness using AI. We’re going to see a wider understanding and the impact of that technology for fair and foul – and will have an impact upon the digital identity and biometric space that few have yet to imagine.

Mobile IoT

Security breaches in IoT Services will increase

Despite efforts from the entire industry the trend of increased security accidents in IoT solutions will continue. MEF has endorsed the IoT Security Guidelines which are robust and feature 85 detailed recommendations to help enterprises overcome the security challenges.

Mobile IoT Roaming will mature

Clearly roaming voice service for people is fundamentally different to offer a tracking/communication services for industrial applications. Mobile roaming has to mature in 2020 and offer an IoT Roaming Solution. Roles are changing. MVNOs will be key. Some operators are opening to the idea of being seen as a global virtual operators.

Enterprise communications

Fragmentation is here to stay

The fragmentation of communication channels is evident and destined to remain a feature of remain an important factor in business communication. While SMS will continue to enjoy global reach, the many OTT solutions (Whatsapp, iMessage/ABC, Line, KakaoTalk, Viber etc) make multichannel and omnichannel essential not buzzwords. In 2020 the number of players will not diminish, Facebook will attempt to unify their messaging voice (Whatsapp, Facebook Messaging and Instagram) and new platforms Snapchat, TikTok etc will influence the future communications mix.

The emergence of Conversational Commerce. 

The model of communication is changing from only broadcasting messaging to engage conversation with users via intelligent automated platforms. The industry is still trying to work out the best practices for this new media, and 2020 will see plenty of launches, learning and improvements.

Enterprise brands will look to the value chain to give them more insight – and that insight is going to be “what is a consumer trying to achieve?” – what is their intent, and what is the sentiment of that intent? What do customers want to achieve from a messaging conversation?”

Consumers are going to transition from Text to Tap

The smartphone generation expects to be able to interact with companies in the same way as they do with friend and families – today this is very rarely done by traditional SMS. Mobile interactions will improve with less restrictions, becoming richer more immersive and conversational.

More companies will move to a centralised communication platform approach

Proactive 2-way communication becomes a necessary differentiator and evolution of new messaging channels is driving this change. Companies will no longer be able to rely on traditional communication methods. A centralised communication platform approach to interactive customer communications will become the norm so that companies will be able to manage channels and associated customer journeys much more rapidly.

Customer self-service will become more intelligent

With further advances in AI and automation the drive for more intelligent levels of customer service will be realised, enabling customers to do more themselves at their convenience without having to change communication channels mid-journey.

Mobile Payments

Traditional banks will adopt new payment solutions

We’re going to see a much more of a cohesive strategy between traditional banks and new payment solutions. An area of particular development and new maturity is Africa – a lot of development in terms of start-ups and financing and maturity in terms of numbers will happen in 2020.

Progressive regulatory improvement across blockchain

Throughout 2019 there was significant development in blockchain with some EU countries adopting innovative approaches to new crypto and digital assets. In 2020 we can expect to see a regulatory approach to welcome new technology innovations surrounding blockchain.

Payments: tokenisation and retail focused applications

Delivering the promise of increased security and speed of transaction in retail businesses, greater adoption of tokenisation using blockchain to fundamentally solve the speed of processing will help increase adoption of retail applications.

And there’s more…

Mobile Games will be back in the spotlight 2020

Video and music have been a focus of the content owners for the last few years. In 2020 expect games to see significant growth with on-demand solutions and e-gaming key areas. Google has also been putting early attention to that so we will be watching to see how that space develops.

Brazil and India will opt out of 5G for 2020

Due mainly to several political and technical issues yet to be resolved, and the countries are still taking their own position on the commercial disputes between China and the USA. This will see key markets including Brazil and India lag behind in the implementation of 5G.

Brazil driving broadband services in LATAM

For 2020 Latin America carriers are focusing on Brazil and especially serving clients with 3G, 4G and broadband offers focused on video and broadband; mobile and fixed.

Agreee? Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments below