As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, with countries at differing stages of response and recovery, we share further learnings and actions from MEF members working to support businesses and consumers as well as innovative solutions for fighting back against the virus.
Rajdip Gupta, MD & Group CEO, Routemobile
As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to escalate, there is uncertainty in every industry and will also have long-lasting repercussions. The crisis reinforces the enterprise for the adoption of omnichannel communications. With increasing consumer uncertainty, we have seen a surge in the application-to-person (A2P) and person-to-person (P2P) messaging.
Many brands are trying to ensure business continuity and ensure seamless communications with their customers by sending notifications, updates, critical information, alerts etc. We can see many SMEs are early adopters of WhatsApp Business Solution to communicate with their users and the trend will follow with RCS adoption as well. Globally the government bodies have been communicating through Apps, A2P messaging and WhatsApp Business Solution for sending emergency notifications. The Healthcare sector is the frontline of using cloud communication channels, the modern technology of telemedicine has enabled doctors to consult patients using voice and messaging apps.
We estimate an acceleration in cloud communications channels and the imminent restructuring of the global economy. The digital transformation in enterprises will increase more customer engagement and better user experience. All I can say is that the world needs a speedy recovery from this unprecedented disruption and be prepared for the future digital transformation.
Vincent Schaeken, Technical Product Manager, AdaptiveMobile Security
While most of the world comes about in unison to fight any adversary, there is always a small minority that takes it as an opportunity for profiteering. The Covid19 pandemic has been no different. As countries and businesses around the world unite in their approach to keep their citizens and employees safe, criminals are also finding new avenues to exploit the fear and uncertainty surrounding the globe.
With the Telecoms ecosystem being critical to not just communication but numerous other verticals, it is not surprising that a spike in Covid19 related fraudulent activity was also observed across almost all operators. There is prior history here too, other previous ‘news-worthy’ disease outbreaks in the past, such as H1N1/swine flu , MERS and Ebola have also witnessed similar ’spam outbreaks’.
However we are seeing an evolution in the way that Governments, Health Authorities and a broad range of businesses are reaching out to citizens and customers to provide information about the support and assistance programs available, using mobile messaging in ways never previously done to such scale and interaction. This has created an opportunity for scammers to capitalise upon the urgency and importance of these new campaigns and interactions, by emulating them with a range of maliciously crafted attacks that look plausible copies of legitimate traffic.
People are particularly vulnerable at this time and thus more prone to disclosing sensitive information and falling prey to scams and misinformation, so protecting them against these malicious campaigns is even more critical. The messages range from financial grants, updates to untested and potentially dangerous cures which can develop a false sense of security in the society and cause even greater harm. Our COVID-19 SMS Spam Dashboard shows the frequency and geography of some of these attacks in North America and Canada, as well as showing some examples of the types of Spam out there.
AdaptiveMobile Security with its worldwide deployments of Network Protection Platforms protecting over 1/5th of the world’s mobile users are protecting against many of these attacks, and are participating in a range of industry initiatives to ensure that legitimate emergency messages get through, while harmful traffic is controlled.
Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer - GMS Worldwide
Like many international messaging companies, GMS has seen a fluctuation in traffic due to the quarantine. Though not all of it negative: we have actually seen international traffic grow in two key categories.
Business support use cases have increased – for example, we have seen an increase in 2FA/OTP messages as the move to remote working has required additional verification of connections to productivity suites.
Specific segments of the entertainment sector have also increased their traffic. Social media brands, in particular, have seen an increase in signups, with a corresponding rise in authentication messages.
Meanwhile, traffic from local/domestic businesses has experienced more volatility. Less shopping and fewer payments have led to a drop in banking notifications. Stores themselves are obviously putting promotional messaging on hold, although delivery notifications are seeing an understandable uptick.
Clearly, this means that local aggregators are more vulnerable than those with an international footprint. However, even these latter won’t be immune to the knock-on effects if their clients start to see problems. Hubs and providers that get a lot of traffic from ride-sharing apps or brick-and-mortar stores will be more vulnerable than those that, for example, focus more on serving the operators.
In turn, providers like GMS can help operators that are seeing falling roaming revenues by securing and monetizing international messaging. Managed services are designed to separate and optimize messaging routes, which in the present circumstances goes a long way in allowing an operator to weather the storm of uncertainty.
William Dudley, Head of Mobile Innovations and Evangelism, SAP Digital Interconnect
SAP Digital Interconnect recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic and crisis means that people are increasingly turning to mobile communications – including mobile messaging. One of our products called People Connect 365 is designed help enterprises boost their resilience to various types of events such as the current pandemic. As part of our efforts to help customers dealing with the risks and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we began running a 30-day free trial of our People Connect 365 product from April 1st – June 30th 2020.
During the trial period, customers can use the full features and capabilities of the product to remain in touch with their employees as needed through SMS and other channels. Our trial also includes free SMS messages for each employee loaded into the system (up to a maximum of 30,000 free messages). We also pre-provisioned messaging for a number of countries so that customers could launch very quickly in order to begin production.
Additionally, we have noted that our global messaging traffic has shown considerable elevations above normal levels since the middle of March – both for P2P and A2P. Consequently, we put our messaging operations on high alert to make sure our networks are operating at their peak efficiency and that our business customers are using high-quality routes.
We, as SAP Digital Interconnect, recognize that now more than ever businesses need to connect with their customer. Social distancing means physical distancing and therefore requires even more virtual touch points. SAP Digital Interconnect with our CPaaS portfolio of channels and solutions continue to intelligently interconnect everyone, everything, everywhere.
Eduardo Brazao Director, Business Development, Somos
As a leading data solutions and registry management provider, Somos has a long history of providing the neutral, reliable and unwavering services needed to ensure trusted connections between brands, consumers and communities. We have a commitment to be a leading provider of solutions that drive innovation, inspire confidence and most importantly, support our communities and customers.
One solution that best supports these guiding principles is TFN Identity, a centralized database that allows Responsible Organizations (Resp Orgs) to provision and store Caller ID information which in turn allows the Caller Name to be displayed when a call is received from the Toll-Free Number.
Unfortunately, as fears around the coronavirus pandemic occupy our attention, phone scams and hoaxes that prey on these fears are making consumers hesitant to answer calls from unknown numbers. When it was recently reported that this was happening to calls from a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Toll-Free Number set-up to provide patients with COVID-19 test results, providers turned to TFN Identity to deliver the critical Caller ID information needed to alert consumers that this was a call that they wanted to answer.